Tag Archives: Department of Commerce

SCDOT spending tens of millions on the nonexistent I-73; can’t account for $8M

September 13, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Some 37 years after the idea was first proposed, Interstate 73 in South Carolina exists only on paper. Yet since 2004, the state Department of Transportation has spent at least $77 million on the project – much of it for design costs and land purchases along the proposed route from North Carolina […]

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State agencies sitting on big reserves; lawmakers returning little to taxpayers

September 11, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If the S.C. House of Representatives decided to forgo its entire $22.7 million budget this fiscal year, it could still pay all of its expected bills – with more than $650,000 left over. That’s because the 124-member chamber carried over nearly $23.4 million in general funds into this fiscal year for its […]

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Key details in Volvo cost-benefit analyses kept secret by S.C. Commerce

July 12, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT More than four years after officials announced that Volvo would locate in South Carolina, the state Department of Commerce won’t reveal the estimated amounts of certain public costs and benefits identified in analyses of the $1.1 billion project. The Nerve reported last month, based on Commerce records obtained under the state open-records […]

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Taxpayer tab for Volvo deal far bigger than public pronouncements

June 29, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When S.C. officials announced in 2015 that Volvo would locate its first U.S. plant in rural Berkeley County, the total incentives offered to the Swedish car maker were pegged at about $200 million. An investigation by The Nerve, however, found more than $250 million in incentives spent or offered so far by […]

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Subsidies for Carolina Panthers: A losing game for S.C. taxpayers?

May 15, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT At the end of the 2014 regular legislative session, lawmakers slipped in a budget proviso funneling $75,000 through the state tourism agency for the Carolina Panthers’ summer training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg. Then-Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed the proviso, writing in her June 11, 2014, veto message, “The National Football League […]

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

May 1, 2019

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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 […]

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

April 13, 2019

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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 […]

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Taxpayer schemes: How some tourist, ecodevo groups win state grants

April 2, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. lawmakers are funneling millions in tax dollars collectively to economic development and tourism organizations in the state – with the requirement that the groups secure private matches for grants. These types of “public-private partnerships” have been common in recent years in South Carolina, purportedly to ensure that taxpayers don’t pay most […]

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SCRA getting big Commerce payments while seeking revenue-friendly legislation

February 15, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce has paid more than $2.9 million since fiscal 2015 to a state-created nonprofit that listed $69 million in net assets as of June 30 and now wants lawmakers to double its main funding source. Asked for specifics on the $2.93 million paid to the Columbia-based South Carolina […]

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Secrecy surrounds incentives info for Amazon HQ2 search, other S.C. projects

November 30, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce says it didn’t formally offer any taxpayer-backed incentives to lure Amazon’s second national headquarters to the Palmetto State, but instead provided general incentives information to counties if any of them wanted to compete for the project. Commerce spokeswoman Adrienne Fairwell told The Nerve on Tuesday she didn’t […]

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