Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bill Crawford: Mississippi is a federal junkie

Top-notch 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 state leaders have topnotch experts assessing risks facing state finances? If so, what do their forecasts show should federal dollars decline dramatically? And what are our leaders’ plans should the cuts come true?

The President’s guiding light for federal spending cuts appears to be the Heritage Foundation. Its “Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2018” calls for another base closure round (BRAC), cuts to food stamps (SNAP), auctioning off TVA, cuts to FEMA, cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans’ benefits, cuts to Earned Income Tax Credits and Additional Child Tax Credits, and eliminating Head Start, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Economic Development Administration, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Americorps, SSI benefits, rural airport subsidies, all WIOA job-training grants, and much more. Long-term recommendations include cost-cutting reforms to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education.

Read the entire document here:

Then, consider these facts.

Mississippi's Joint Legislative Budget Committee Budget Bulletin for fiscal year 2017 showed $8.3 billion, or 44%, of Mississippi's $18.9 billion total budget funded with federal dollars. That's up from $3.5 billion, or 35%, of Mississippi's $9.9 billion budget in 2000.

Indeed, the latest Tax Foundation rankings had Mississippi moving to the top as the government most reliant on federal aid.

But the money flowing through state government is a small part of the overall inflow of federal funds to Mississippi.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) showed over $27 billion in transfer payments to Mississippians for 2015, more than double the $11.5 billion for 2000.

These are mostly federal funds transferred through government programs to benefit individuals. The programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, Veterans' Benefits, Earned Income Tax Credits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, unemployment benefits, and education grants and benefits … all targeted for cuts under the Heritage plan.

In addition to transfer payments, funding for Mississippi’s federal employees and federal contracts would be at risk. The National Priorities Project reported that 53,720 people in Mississippi worked for the federal government in 2014 bringing in about $3.9 billion in federal funds. The think tank also reported the federal government paid about $3.8 billion to vendors to perform contracts ranging from supplying the military with weapons to building websites.

The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates 32.9% of Mississippi gross domestic product (GDP) comes from federal spending.

Surely state leaders are not ignorant of the economic risks posed by proposed cuts and are readying plans to cope with what Washington decides?

They owe it to taxpayers to reveal their readiness and plan details.

Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, and Moody’s credit rating services, which have recently issued negative outlooks on state finances, probably want to know too.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Iceberg Slim said...

Nothing like a welfare slut!

Anonymous said...

Given its current organizational structure, there is no way the state can survive without the current level of federal support, that's not to say that Mississippi could not be weened off gradually. Unfortunately, our strength lies in career politicians making deals to bring funding to the state in a number of ways. Unless the legislature looks very hard at some sweeping consolidation and embraces technology in a more meaningful way, the 1 and 2 percent cuts recently directed by the Governor will amount to nothing more than a rounding error in the new budget. And, rather than consider the overall fiscal health of state government and the citizens it supposedly serves, state government leadership has focused on self-preservation and the building of inefficient and duplicative fiefdoms.

My business has quit seeking state contracts all together - the arcane rules and ignorant state workforce make it impossible to get anything done, and we usually lost money because the agencies we worked with couldn't get their shit together.

Reorganization is painful and managing change is very hard to do successfully; but our state leaders can either make the hard and unpopular decisions now, or wait until it becomes a real emergency.

Anonymous said...

Is there any news in this contributing article?

Anonymous said...

Mississippi went big for Trump so he will never cut federal spending in Mississippi!

PittPanther said...

I'm sick of these articles bemoaning the coming budget cuts in Mississippi. The voters in Mississippi asked for Trump and budget cuts. Keep cutting! Stop the flow of federal dollars into this state. Shut down needless and wasteful "businesses" like the Stennis Space Center. Let this state be a model to the country, we don't rely on federal dollars. Cut out those tens of thousands of federal jobs in this state. If you're a career federal or state employees, you should prepare to move out of Mississippi, find private sector work, or starve.

Anonymous said...

to all the tea baggers and right wing nut cases here in mississippi who want federal spending slashed, (they love that word. it sounds so badass .) BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. if federal spending is cut in mississippi this state will turn into a bigger third world backwater than it is now.

Anonymous said...

We don't need no stinkin' "top-notch" finance experts. We've got Crawford. He's told us repeatedly over the years that Kemper was, and remains, a great decision.

Anonymous said...

It isn't surprising. Mississippi is mostly rural with few natural resources. As far as the private sector
providing enough jobs for Mississippians keep dreaming.

Anonymous said...

I don't think our legislature or the tea party minded voters will realize the negative effects of this until this hits them personally. That's just how things work. It wouldn't be so concerning if they( the state govt) addressed this problem with practical solutions on the state level and had a plan besides tax shifting.. This "government should do absolutely nothing" mindset is just job security for pols that don't plan to do squat and never will do squat.

Taxing Air BnB isn't exactly a comprehensive solution to the problem at hand. Our unemployment rate is 'bout to go back up in ways we never imagined.

Anonymous said...

My experience in state government is that budgeting decisions to in luxe participating in programs, hiring, travel etc. is based on whether it's local, state or Federal dollars being spent. If it's Federal dollars it seemed decision making was much akin to winning a lottery, its free money so let's hire someone, buy another vehicle or travel
To some of Doric destination for a week to attend a two day workshop. Just a culture of many years.

Anonymous said...

KF is reconsidering his relationship with Crawford and is exploring his options with the estate of Bill Minor.

Anonymous said...

I been saying this all along, thank God I have the resources to move when the gravy train dries up. It won't be the cheapest state to live in once the federal dollars are gone.

Anonymous said...


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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS