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Author Archives: Bill Crawford

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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CRAWFORD: Legislative groups should target declining communities, disconnected youth

As legislators gather in their working groups to study programs and budgets, they should also take note of long-term phenomena with significant impacts. One of these is a downward spiral that can cripple communities. It’s named “The Iron Circle of Poverty.” It’s called the “iron circle” because it is extremely hard to break. Few communities have the talented leadership and sense ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Universities must do even better job preparing reading teachers

Reading matters.   Perhaps no other accomplishment would improve Mississippi prosperity more than for all our children to read proficiently.   So believed Jim and Sally Barksdale 16 years ago when they invested $100 million to improve reading outcomes for Mississippi children. Millions of dollars and many initiatives later, the Barksdale Reading Institute (BRI) continues to push Mississippi to do ...

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