Tag Archives: featured

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

April 18, 2019

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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 […]

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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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Throwback Thursday: unrealistic assumptions for economic impact analyses

April 11, 2019

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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 […]

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State lawmakers have strong grip on local schools in two S.C. counties

April 10, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. Sen. Kevin Johnson’s wife and daughter work for Clarendon School District 2. Another daughter is the school board chairwoman. Last week, Johnson, a Democrat from Manning, introduced a local bill – which passed the Senate in two days – that would give the three-member Clarendon County delegation, of which Johnson is […]

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Few road projects completed in first 20 months of gas-tax-hike law

April 5, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Less than 4% of the nearly $1 billion in road and bridge projects in South Carolina identified by the state Department of Transportation was completed in the first 20 months of the gas-tax-hike law, newly released DOT records show. Lawmakers promised that the law, which raised the gas tax 12 cents per […]

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Throwback Thursday: The forgotten Santee Cooper oversight board

April 4, 2019

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Santee Cooper

This week, the House passed two bills dealing with Santee Cooper: one that creates a legislative oversight committee for the state-owned utility, and one that instructs the Santee Cooper joint study committee to oversee the process of selling it. The problem with both bills? That neither oversight nor the selling process is the role of […]

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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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Legislators continue to look out for their own bottom lines

March 27, 2019

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SC budget process

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another round of state lawmakers supporting legislation that could fatten their wallets. Just this month alone, at least two House bills and a Senate bill were introduced, while separate legislation passed the Senate, that pose potential conflicts of interest for lawmakers who authored or co-sponsored the proposals. State ethics law […]

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House, Senate chambers sitting on huge reserves while seeking more tax dollars

March 22, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. House and Senate know how to take care of each other – with taxpayer money. As The Nerve reported in September, the 124-member House carried over $25 million in general funds in its chamber budget for this fiscal year, which started July 1 – nearly $2.9 million more than its […]

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Landess: Why won’t S.C. leaders admit who really controls state government?

March 20, 2019

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By ASHLEY LANDESS Most Nerve readers know that South Carolina’s governor doesn’t control transportation, education, the pension system or every regulatory entity. But an important state financial document says otherwise, and that is cause for concern. As The Nerve reported last week, a chart depicting the chain of accountability in state government misrepresents who is […]

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