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CECIL BROWN — Subpar schools will continue to produce subpar results

More than 90 percent of all Mississippi kids attend public schools. That means that 90 percent of the state’s workforce, voters, parents, and leaders come from public schools. More than 60,000 teachers and support staff work in Mississippi’s public schools, and Mississippi state government spends more than $2 billion a year on public education. In addition, local taxpayers spend untold millions more. Is it ...

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ANALYSIS: Report says Mississippi pension funding too low

A new report says that even if Mississippi’s public employee pension system was meeting investment assumptions, governments still aren’t putting away enough money to whittle down debt from previous pension underfunding. The study, released last week by the Pew Charitable Trusts, raises questions about the long-term course of the Public Employees Retirement System, though the system has enough money to pay years’ ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: A Peek behind Legislative leaders’ spending rhetoric

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn are touting their great success this year in holding down the cost of government.    “We Republicans have campaigned for many, many years that we are for living within our means, we are for controlling spending, we are for reducing the size of government,” Gunn told reporters according to the Associated ...

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TODD SMITH — Tesla stock races past GM, Ford as most valuable

Tesla Inc. – the sleek, high-end electric carp company – has surpassed General Motors Co. to become America’s most valuable car brand, eclipsing a company whose well being was once viewed as interdependent with the nation’s. A week after topping Ford Motor Co., Tesla climbed 3.3 percent last week, lifting its market capitalization to $50.9 billion. Tesla ended last Monday ...

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Analysis: Leaders say reducing state budget meets GOP goal

There has been plenty of hand-wringing about the Mississippi budget the past several months, with Republican Gov. Phil Bryant making multiple rounds of cuts because tax collections fell short of expectations. Many programs face further reductions for the year that begins July 1 under a spending plan set by legislators. Some agency directors are certain to develop heartburn while figuring ...

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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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JACK WEATHERLY — Downtown Jackson taking it one step at a time

Grand plans have been pursued for naught to revive downtown Jackson. In 2009, a spectacular proposal called Two Lakes would have turned downtown into a canal with sailboats, condos and a concert bowl. The plan didn’t hold water. More recently, and seemingly still within reach, is the revival of the Farish Street Historic District. Meantime, the piecemeal approach has proceeded. ...

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WESLEY McGREW — Don’t let cybersecurity wag the dog

When “the tail is wagging the dog”, you know that something has gone wrong. Priorities are not straight, and a part of the system does not understand its role. Providers of offense-oriented security services, such as penetration testing and red team engagements (which I’ve described in previous articles), often make draconian recommendations that, in pursuit of least effort, wind up ...

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LAW ELEVATED — Mississippi’s Health Care Collaboration Act is good medicine

Say what you will about Mississippi’s government, our state Capitol building is an impressive structure. Even in the midst of a $8.7 million renovation, walking through the ground floor of the Capitol and looking up through the second floor opening into the dome far above, one gets the distinct impression that this is a thing that the state most certainly ...

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TODD SMITH — Global communications report predicts convergence of PR, marketing

The USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations has released key findings from its second annual Global Communications Report, a comprehensive survey of more than 800 public relations executives from around the world. For the first time ever, the report also features insights from almost 700 public relations and communications students, along with in-house marketing executives. A key finding from this ...

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