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State short more than $30M in debt payment money, Fitch warns

By TED CARTER Gov. Phil Bryant and legislative leaders received more bad news late last week in a warning from Treasurer Lynn Fitch to expect a $32 million to $40 million shortfall in money available for debt service in the new fiscal year. The $111.5 million in special funds legislators thought they could use to pay debts in fiscal 2017 is ...

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Budget cuts slow handling of Mississippi income tax returns

A second round of midyear budget cuts took place just as the Mississippi Department of Revenue was swamped with thousands of individual income tax filings. Because of the cuts, the department had to send home 35 temporary workers it had hired to open mail because it couldn’t afford to keep them, agency spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury said Tuesday. Other employees of ...

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State’s failure to refill prepaid college fund, tapping of abandoned property fund worry Treasurer

By TED CARTER Two approaches Mississippi legislators took to help make fiscal ends meet in the 2016 session are especially troublesome to Treasurer Lynn Fitch. One is a refusal to replenish the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Fund to cover a $127 million shortfall the fund incurred before Fitch suspended new sign-ups for 18 months. Fitch reopened the fund on Oct. ...

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Restocked historic tax credits give new life to restoration projects

By TED CARTER Restorations and conversions of historic buildings across Mississippi stalled when the state ran out of historic tax credits are back in motion with the Legislature’s $60 million replenishment of the credits. The $60 million allocation is for five years and limits the state credits to $12 million annually. Unlike the initial $60 million allocation in 2006, the new ...

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Fed will likely keep rates unchanged in face of global slump

The U.S. job market is healthy. The stock market is up. Home prices are rising. Yet as the Federal Reserve prepares to meet this week, it seems in no mood to resume raising interest rates from ultra-lows. With the global economy struggling and U.S. inflation still below the Fed’s target rate, many economists see little likelihood of a rate increase ...

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Fate of state tax cuts in conference committee hands

By TED CARTER Whatever chance a tax cut for either Mississippi’s businesses or individuals has this legislative session will be decided by a six-member conference committee appointed by House and Senate leaders. Adding to the difficulties of choices before the conference is a growing tax collections shortfall that represents collections that fell approximately $20 million below projections for each month since ...

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Mississippi continues ‘sluggish’ growth, economist says

JACKSON — The state economist says Mississippi continues to have “sluggish” growth that trails the Southeast and the nation as a whole. Darrin Webb tells lawmakers Wednesday that he expects data will show Mississippi’s economy grew about 1 percent in 2015, following two years of contraction. That compares to 2.4 percent growth last year for the nation — the same ...

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Stocks waver after a 3-day rally; Wal-Mart sinks retailers

  NEW YORK — Stocks are mostly lower Thursday as a three-day rally loses steam. Consumer stocks are sliding after Wal-Mart reported disappointing results and cut its sales projections, and bank stocks are giving up some of their recent gains. Investors are applauding IBM’s latest acquisition. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 4 points to 16,457 as of ...

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