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BILL CRAWFORD — Will Mississippi tax cuts have results like Kansas?

Is Kansas a lesson for Mississippi?   Conservative Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican controlled Kansas Legislature enacted massive state tax cuts five years ago, making Kansas the national poster child for anti-tax advocates.   Earlier this month, the Kansas Legislature, led by newly elected moderate Republicans, reversed those deep tax cuts following huge budget shortfalls and limited economic growth. ...

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Analysis: Rep’s silence after lynch remark strains relations

In 2015, a white Mississippi lawmaker went to the front of the state House chamber and apologized for saying in an interview that black people in his town were getting food stamps and what he called “welfare crazy checks.” The apology by a deflated-looking Republican Rep. Gene Alday of Walls lasted only about 30 seconds. It was received by tepid ...

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PHIL HARDWICK: It’s all about value

  Question: Our business wants to increase sales, but is having a difficult time because there is a lot of competition in our town. A consultant told us that customers did not perceive our business as providing as much value as our competitors. Our prices are already the same or lower. What can we do? A: Value is more than ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: Controlling the Kudzu of state spending

One of my many anonymous critics on a local blog zapped me last week over my column “A Peek behind Legislative Leaders’ Rhetoric.” In particular, he/she said I lack “a coherent alternate plan” of my own.   Well, I never guessed it might be a columnist’s job to propose a whole budget plan. But, an avid reader could find elements of ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: Legislature needs rightsizing too

Republican legislators insist they are making the right moves to “rightsize” state government, which includes shrinking the state budget. If they mean what they say, the Legislature, itself, should be on the rightsizing menu too.    Mississippi has one of the larger legislatures in the United States, especially for our small population. We have 122 representatives and 52 senators for ...

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TODD SMITH — U.S. is split on media treatment of Trump

In the wake of numerous contentious encounters between President Donald Trump’s White House and the national press corps, Americans disagree on the news media’s coverage of the new president and his administration. Just over a third of Americans (36 percent) think the media have been too tough on Trump, while just under a third (31 percent) think it has been ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Move remediation to community colleges and hybrid universities

Across the nation ever rising higher education costs are in conflict with tight state budgets. At the same time ever rising tuition costs are in conflict with stagnant family incomes. Many states are looking to restructure higher education to reduce costs, both for the state and for students.    “The pressure on higher ed budgets is going to continue,” said ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Inflated university enrollment costs taxpayers

With tight state budgets looming for the foreseeable future, government operations must be rationalized to higher levels of efficiency and performance. Mississippi’s public universities should not be exempt from this process.    In last week’s column I suggested legislators look hard at university admission standards and out-of-state tuition. IHL’s current approach is to admit under-prepared students and to discount out-of-state ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Legislators should take hard look at university admissions

USM cut out-of-state tuition by 40 percent “to reverse a 2,000-student enrollment dip by pricing a USM education below some public universities in nearby states,” reported the Clarion-Ledger.    IHL data shows the average percentage of out-of-state students attending Mississippi public universities is 30 percent. The averages for each university are ASU 24 percent, DSU 17 percent, JSU 23 percent, MSU 34 percent, MUW 15 percent, MVSU 23 percent, ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Two Meridian representatives introduce conflicting bills

Meridian Republican Representative Steve Horne has introduced House Bill 305 to abolish party primaries for state and local elections.    Meridian Republican Representative Greg Snowden has introduced House Bill 496 to require party primaries for state and local judicial elections.   Hmmm.   Horne’s bill was referred by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn to the Apportionment and Elections Committee. ...

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