Tag Archives: Department of Commerce

Senator: Lawmakers left out of loop on Leatherman’s $550M bond proposal

April 9, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Claiming that many lawmakers had little or no notice of a $550 million taxpayer-backed bond plan for projects at the Port of Charleston, a senator has proposed expanding the Ports Authority governing board to include the heads of the state Commerce and Transportation departments. Besides making Commerce secretary Bobby Hitt and DOT […]

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Little-known S.C. public railroad pays its executives well

February 24, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT It’s a railroad that most South Carolinians probably never have heard of. The Charleston-based “Palmetto Railways” is classified as a “short line railroad,” which typically runs shorter distances and connects shippers to larger freight railroads. Officially, Palmetto Railways, which was established in 1969, is a division of the S.C. Department of Commerce, […]

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Commerce approves hundreds of large-crowd events amid Covid outbreak

February 12, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Since Gov. Henry McMaster in August gave the state Department of Commerce – which isn’t a public health agency – the authority to allow large-crowd events in South Carolina amid the coronavirus outbreak, the agency has approved more than 1,300 applications, records show. Through Thursday morning, Commerce approved 1,345, or 90%, of […]

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No shortage of budget pork amid COVID-19 outbreak

December 11, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When lawmakers return in January for a new legislative session, they likely will claim they will have far less money to spend next fiscal year because of the coronavirus outbreak. But state government is far from poor, at least judging by agencies’ budget requests for fiscal 2021-22, which starts July 1 – […]

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Commerce wants fed tax dollars for staff time spent on COVID-19

November 13, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce doesn’t employ any medical or infectious disease experts, but the agency is seeking $250,000 in federal funds to reimburse itself for staff time spent on coronavirus-related tasks. The state earlier this year received $1.9 billion in federal “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” (CARES) funds. Under a […]

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The $4 billion state officials are keeping secret

September 18, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Many politicians and other government officials don’t want to publicly acknowledge the huge surpluses that state agencies accumulate year after year. Even amid the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina, 101 state agencies and two major state accounts collectively ended the fiscal year on June 30 with at least $4.3 billion in “other” […]

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As South Carolinians’ income shrinks, state agency surpluses grow

September 3, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce started fiscal 2021 with a $103.1 million general-fund surplus – more than double its reserves from a year ago. The S.C. House of Representatives had a $23.7 million surplus as of July 1 for its 124-member chamber – nearly $1 million more than its entire budget, records […]

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Governor punts health-related powers to Commerce – again

August 5, 2020

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster has once again granted the S.C. Department of Commerce – which isn’t a public health agency – the power to make health-related decisions in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state. Last week, McMaster announced that “gatherings,” defined in his executive order as a “planned or spontaneous […]

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Taxpayer-funded gifts to Panthers grow with planned SC move

July 29, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If only the Carolina Panthers could win as easily as it gets taxpayer money. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) was awarded a nearly $34.6 million “Infrastructure for Rebuilding America” (INFRA) federal grant to build a new interchange on Interstate 77 near the […]

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Politicians’ promises don’t reflect written incentives deals

July 8, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT       S.C. politicians routinely love to make promises about massive corporate investment and multitudes of new jobs in the Palmetto State. But the secretly crafted written agreements offering taxpayer-backed incentives in exchange for those promised jobs and investment often don’t live up to the official hype. Last month, The Nerve detailed how for […]

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