Tag Archives: Hugh Leatherman

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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Gas-tax-hike piggy bank keeps growing fatter

April 30, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Through March, a special fund created with the state gas-tax-hike law had a cash balance of nearly $824 million and racked up more than $26 million in investment earnings on surpluses since July 2017, records show. The $823.8 million surplus in the “Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund” as of March 31 represented nearly […]

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Senators pushing plenty of pork projects through taxpayer-funded earmarks

April 28, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. senators want to spend nearly $108 million next fiscal year on dozens of pet projects by funneling the money through state agencies that typically didn’t request the public dollars. More than half of the $107.9 million in labeled earmarks for fiscal year 2022, which starts July 1, would be spent collectively […]

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Santee Cooper, Ports Authority board members paid thousands for part-time gig

April 16, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Unlike panels overseeing other state agencies, the governing boards of the state-created Ports Authority and utility Santee Cooper are paid thousands of dollars annually for their part-time jobs, records show. Most members of the Ports Authority Board of Directors made $11,700 last year, while members of the Santee Cooper Board of Directors […]

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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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Pothole palooza: SCDOT claims it patches hundreds of thousands of holes

April 2, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In its latest annual report, the S.C. Department of Transportation claimed it patched about 679,300 potholes statewide during fiscal year 2020. Based on those numbers, an average of 14,767 potholes were filled from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, in each of the state’s 46 counties, though the annual report, provided […]

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