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Author Archives: Bill Crawford

BILL CRAWFORD — Will tax cuts ease economic distress and health disparities?

The 13-state Appalachian Regional Commission just released its latest county economic status rankings. Mississippi has 24 ARC counties with 12 ranked “distressed,” nine “at-risk,” three “transitional,” and none “competitive” or “attainment.” Rankings did not change from last year.   What do these rankings mean? ARC calculates the economic status of counties based on unemployment rates, per capita market income, and ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: Casinos may get sports betting on the sly

Speaking of doofuses, did you see Geoff Pender’s column entitled “Did legislative leadership really fall for sports-betting rope-a-dope?” Or the earlier Mississippi Today story entitled “Lawmakers: Didn’t think law would legalize sports betting?” Lots of legislators are saying they didn’t know the bill they passed this year to tax fantasy sports betting may open the door for Mississippi casinos to ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: Save us from doofus driven debacles

“Doofus” is an intriguing and timely word. The Oxford Living Dictionary says it likely originated in North America in the 1960s and suggests it is either an alteration of the word “goofus” or from the Scottish word “doof” meaning dolt. The Online Etymology Dictionary says it is “probably related to doo-doo and goofus.” The definitions range from “a foolish or ...

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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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