May 9, 2019

0 Comments

Tax money meant for veterans’ care spent on university bus, new furniture

By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the last four fiscal years, $1.4 million in tax dollars flowed through three state social services agencies to an equestrian center operated by Lander University, a small, public liberal arts school in Greenwood. But an investigation by The Nerve found that relatively little was spent to directly help S.C. citizens served […]

Continue reading...

May 3, 2019

0 Comments

No significant road projects completed in 26 S.C. counties, despite gas tax hike

  By RICK BRUNDRETT Through March, the S.C. Department of Transportation had completed no road reconstruction or significant repaving projects in more than half of the state’s counties with revenues generated under the gas-tax-hike law that took effect nearly two years ago, newly released DOT records show. The balance in the state “Infrastructure Maintenance Trust […]

Continue reading...

May 2, 2019

0 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Transparency for higher ed spending

dollars coat of arms

Remember when we told you last year that lawmakers were pulling $3.7 billion off-budget? Those funds were the “Other Funds” (fines and fees) for South Carolina’s public colleges and universities, and included all tuition revenue. This wasn’t a spending cut: the House simply removed those funds from the budget and added a proviso (which the […]

Continue reading...

May 1, 2019

0 Comments

Are S.C. officials shirking their oversight of tax dollars awarded to private groups?

By RICK BRUNDRETT In 2006, lawmakers approved spending $700,000 in the fiscal 2007 state budget to help the private Erskine College in Abbeville County establish the “John Drummond Center for Statesmanship” – to be named after the late longtime senator who retired from the Legislature in 2008. A budget proviso authorizing the funding required the […]

Continue reading...

April 27, 2019

0 Comments

Proviso pork spending: A longstanding legislative tradition

By RICK BRUNDRETT As S.C. lawmakers head into the final weeks of adopting an approximately $30 billion state budget for next fiscal year, their taxpayer-funded goody bag keeps growing bigger. For years, lawmakers have slipped in funding requests – often for their own pet projects – through obscure state budget provisos. The latest budget cycle […]

Continue reading...

April 25, 2019

0 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Calling for incentive transparency reform

incentive transparency

This week, Sen. Dick Harpootlian called for an audit of the past ten years of economic incentive packages – a monumental task given that there is no system of transparency or accountability for these taxpayer-funded incentive packages. This week’s throwback is a pair of stories – one from eight years ago, detailing this very point: […]

Continue reading...

April 24, 2019

0 Comments

SCDOT’s pothole projections have plenty of holes

SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last fiscal year, the S.C. Department of Transportation estimated it filled more than 37,000 potholes in small, rural Kershaw County – the biggest number among the state’s 46 counties. In comparison, the pothole total was more than three times DOT’s projected number of patched potholes in Greenville County – the state’s most-populous […]

Continue reading...

April 18, 2019

0 Comments

Horsing around: How an ex-lawmaker and his sister involved themselves in a veterans’ therapy program

By RICK BRUNDRETT Former S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts pushed for state funding to launch a veterans’ therapy program that his sister positioned herself to manage and was overseen by the state agency that employed her for years, an investigation by The Nerve found. Two years and $1 million later, the therapy program, called “Herd 2 […]

Continue reading...

April 13, 2019

0 Comments

Ecodevo groups get lots of tax dollars, show few landed projects for the money

By RICK BRUNDRETT In recent years, state lawmakers annually have earmarked a total of nearly $5 million to eight regional economic development organizations, presumably to help attract new companies to South Carolina. But whether taxpayers are getting significant, verifiable returns on their investment is questionable, The Nerve found in a review of required annual reports […]

Continue reading...

April 11, 2019

0 Comments

Throwback Thursday: unrealistic assumptions for economic impact analyses

Panthers economic analysis

This week, the Department of Commerce released its cost-benefit analysis of the proposed taxpayer-funded incentives for the Carolina Panthers. The analysis is all of two pages and contains very little truly helpful information – for instance, only four assumptions are listed: the number of jobs, the payroll amount, the direct investment amount, and the percentage […]

Continue reading...