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BILL CRAWFORD: The new Republican reality: Debt, debt, and more debt

“The national debt has passed a new milestone, topping $22 trillion for the first time,” reported the Associated Press. “The Treasury Department’s daily statement showed Tuesday that total outstanding public debt stands at $22.01 trillion. It stood at $19.95 trillion when President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017.” “It looks like a $9 trillion time bomb is ready ...

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US consumer spending fell sharply in December

WASHINGTON • U.S. consumer spending tumbled 0.5 percent in December, the biggest decline in nine years, as the holiday shopping season ended in disappointment. Meanwhile, incomes rose sharply in December but edged down in January. The fall in consumer spending followed sizable gains of 0.7 percent in October and 0.6 percent in November, the Commerce Department reported Friday. December’s result ...

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Need help with taxes? Here’s where to turn for info, help

It’s tough to know all the answers at tax time, particularly in a year with massive tax law changes. Sometimes people need help, but where should they turn? Here are a few options: IRS The IRS has answers to most tax questions online. Its website also has a number of tools to help you find what you need, including an ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: What a disappointing tax season

Started your tax return yet? I have and it’s so disappointing. I had looked forward to the simpler, easier tax filing promised by President Donald Trump’s tax cuts. Take the increased standard deduction and forget all that work to compile medical and dental expenses, taxes paid, interest paid, charitable contributions, and so on. This was going to be a breeze. ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: Is Mississippi in its best financial shape ever?

State revenue collections are running ahead of target. The state rainy day fund and other reserves are full of cash. Agency budget cuts appear to be behind us. Pointing to all this, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said “Mississippi is in our best financial and fiscal shape in our history.” Speaker of the House Philip Gunn chimed in saying, “This is ...

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‘Grinch effect’ casts pall over shopping season

By JACK WEATHERLY Two credit-card reports cast a pall over the nation during the height of the Christmas-shopping season. The timing of the analyses might be called the Grinch effect. Mississippi has the sixth-highest credit-card debt burden in the nation, according to CreditCards.com. Another personal-finance website, WalletHub, took a look at credit-card debt in more than 2,500 cities for the ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Usury proscriptions forgotten in Mississippi

Living in a very Christian state, most Mississippians should remember the biblical proscriptions on usury.   Here’s one: “Thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and has forgotten me, saith the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 22:12)   Many Mississippi leaders have forgotten.   Once Mississippi’s maximum annual finance charge was 8%. Anything ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — PERS sees taxpayers as their evergreen money tree

The PERS Board of Trustees seemed happy after hearing from their actuary. The funded ratio for PERS increased and investment returns were up.   So, are things turning up for PERS?   Only if you don’t mind your pocketbook getting raided.   Here’s the story. As the actuary report highlighted, PERS’ funded ratio moved from 61.1% to 61.8% (the minimum ...

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Higher tax withholdings point to more jobs filled; Mississippi sectors index shows gains

By TED CARTER The value of an index tracking Mississippi’s key business sectors rose a full 1 percent in August, maintaining an upward trend that began five months ago, state economists said in the October “Mississippi Business Report.” The growth in value tracked in the Mississippi Lead Index, or MLI, occurred in all sectors other than manufacturing, said Corey Miller, ...

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