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Author Archives: Bill Crawford

BILL CRAWFORD: Are state leaders ready for big cuts in federal funds?

Topnotch finance experts assess risks and plan for downturns as diligently as they evaluate and promote upside opportunities.    Mississippi’s economy has become more reliant than ever on federal funds. Should President Donald Trump and conservative leaders succeed in their plans to slash federal spending, the risks to our state economy would be substantial, if we aren’t ready. So, do our ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Public contract reforms unsung but epic

As the dismal saga of bribery and extortion swirling around former Commissioner Chris Epps and Mississippi Department of Corrections contracts continues to make headlines, epic reforms to the public contracting process slipped through the Legislature with scant media attention.    Longtime champion of contract reform Representative Jerry Turner passed legislation that completely revamps the public contract review board and tightens ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: Strangulation budget hits state employees, poor

Merry Christmas state employees. The budget proposed by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn, and their budget committee colleagues targets you. If you get to keep your job, they want you to work harder and do more for no more pay. The budget is bad for your retirement (PERS) too. Oh, but you will get a tiny tax ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Is out-of-state student growth good for Mississippi taxpayers?

USM, seeking students, reduces out-of-state tuition,” read the recent newspaper headline.    “The idea is to reverse a 2,000-student enrollment dip by pricing a USM education below some public universities in nearby states, and attract enough high-schoolers from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio to raise overall revenue,” explained the Clarion-Ledger story. USM cut annual tuition for out-of-state students by 40%, ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Leaders’ power play puts egg on their faces

How appropriate.  Fate chose the week of the Egg Bowl for legislative leaders to have to wipe lots of egg off their faces.   How silly. House Republican leaders passed a rule, with Senate mimicry pending, to deny media access to the Legislature’s contracts, only to find out they were violating their own law.   How embarrassing. The state’s only statewide ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: State economy struggles to hit half the national growth rate

State economists lower forecast for remainder of year,” read the Mississippi Business Journal headline on October 27th. “Mississippi’s state economists have pulled back on an already-weak economic forecast for the rest of 2016, projecting that the state’s economy will grow only 1.5 percent instead of the 1.6 percent previously predicted,” said the story.   “U.S. economy roars back, grew at ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: University president terms getting shorter

Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers becomes the latest university president to leave prematurely. She announced her resignation following disclosure of financial problems at the university.   Once university presidents seemed to hold office forever. As a new Kirk Fordice appointee to the IHL Board in 1992, I was awed by the tenure of Walter Washington, 25 years as president ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Pathways for unmotivated people become useless pathways

Pathways” is the popular word today for fixing broken, adolescent, and unsuccessful people.    Here are a few examples. At the federal level there are the Pathways out of Poverty Act, the National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention program, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Pathways courses. At the state level there are Governor Phil Bryant’s Mississippi Works Smart Start Career Pathway, the Mississippi ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Tax needs vs. tax cuts bedevils legislators

With legislators looking at taxes, some of us should be worried, some thrilled.   The need to study taxes results from weakening tax revenues along with a sluggish economy, and also because the largest tax cut in state history is pending.   Legislative leaders know they need a consistent, dependable tax base to fund state government. Republican legislators, now a ...

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