Tag Archives: Gov. Henry McMaster

Some state agency heads start new fiscal year with big pay raises

July 7, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT A legislatively controlled committee has given five-figure pay hikes to a group of state agency heads, and a new law empowers the panel to recommend raises next fiscal year for certain statewide elected officials. The Agency Head Salary Commission (AHSC) on Thursday– the start of the new fiscal year – approved the […]

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Earmark secrecy continues as state budget goes into effect

June 30, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In vetoing 226 budget earmarks totaling $152.5 million, Gov. Henry McMaster last week wrote that the “bulk of these earmarked appropriations still lack sufficient context, description, explanation of merit, or justification as to how the recipient intends to spend the funds.” That might be one of the biggest understatements on how lawmakers […]

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Lawmakers approve massive state budget stuffed with pork projects

June 22, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Lawmakers on Monday sent a strong message in adopting a state budget for the fiscal year that starts next week. Let the spending party begin – with your tax dollars. The Legislature overwhelmingly approved a $32.3 billion total budget for fiscal 2022, which includes state, federal and “other” funds, budget records show. […]

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Santee Cooper board still has expired, vacant seats despite ‘reform’ law

June 18, 2021

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Santee Cooper

By RICK BRUNDRETT Of the 12 seats on the board governing state-owned utility Santee Cooper, two are vacant while seven members are serving past their expired terms. A new law that purportedly will reform Santee Cooper – pushed by lawmakers after they couldn’t decide to sell the debt-burdened utility – doesn’t change the selection process […]

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Lawmakers bypassing normal budget process to spend $600M settlement

June 16, 2021

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Gavel on Money

By RICK BRUNDRETT Proceeds from a $600 million settlement with the federal government over plutonium storage in South Carolina weren’t included in any state budget versions crafted by lawmakers for the upcoming fiscal year. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t planning to spend the massive windfall. Last month, a joint resolution was quietly introduced in […]

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House poised to spend millions more on pork projects

June 8, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. House this week could pass a revised version of the fiscal 2022 state budget, which includes $1.8 billion in “new” state funding. But the total $32.1 billion budget version passed last week by the House Ways and Means Committee doesn’t authorize any refunds to state taxpayers. Budget writers, however, designated […]

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Taxpayers on hook for road- and bridge-naming legislation

May 14, 2021

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SC Statehouse

BY RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. lawmakers routinely approve naming road sections and bridges for living or deceased persons, including ex-legislators and other former public officials. Not only does it take up a lot of collective time that could be spent working on larger, more pressing issues, but it also comes with a cost to taxpayers – […]

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Millions more proposed for Senate, House chambers under state spending plan

May 12, 2021

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SC Senate Chamber

By RICK BRUNDRETT The Senate’s version of the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes more than $1.2 billion in surplus money, though none of it would be refunded to taxpayers. Instead, senators would spend $4.2 million of the windfall on its own chamber and give another $2.2 million from the surplus to the […]

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Attorney with ties to SC senator wins judgeship

May 7, 2021

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT An attorney who works in a state senator’s law firm is Spartanburg County’s new master-in-equity judge – less than three months after the county’s legislative delegation, of which the senator is a member, quietly nominated her. The Senate and House this week confirmed Shannon Phillips, an attorney in Sen. Scott Talley’s law […]

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Big government grows with new state agencies

May 5, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT No matter who’s in charge, state government in South Carolina just keeps getting bigger. Three stand-alone state agencies created since Republican Henry McMaster became governor in 2017 – the departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Children’s Advocacy, and the newest agency, the Office of Resilience – would have combined total budgets of $173 […]

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