Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bill Crawford: Pivotal Year for Republicans

The New Year promises to be a pivotal year for Republican leaders in Mississippi. With “job creation” tax cuts in place at both the state and federal levels, voters will be looking for Mississippi’s moribund economy to take off.


But, that’s not what Mississippi’s state economist Dr. Darrin Webb forecasts.

“Mississippi’s growth will not catch the national growth” in the near future, he told the Legislative Budget Committee in November. “That is not likely to happen.”

As reported in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Webb told legislative leaders that Mississippi’s economy continues to lag that of the nation and will do so for the foreseeable future. “As you know, the state has struggled to gain momentum since the recession of 2008,” Webb said. “It seems we take one step forward and two steps back.” He said the state’s “real” gross domestic product (GDP), the total of everything produced in the state, is lower now than it was in 2008 before the so-called Great Recession.

At the state level, Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and House Speaker Philip Gunn, all Republicans, have said business tax cuts enacted over the past several years will stimulate the economy and bring growth. At the federal level, Sen. Thad Cochran, Sen. Roger Wicker, Rep. Trent Kelly, Rep. Gregg Harper, and Rep. Steven Palazzo, all Republicans, have said the big cuts in federal corporate taxes they helped pass will stimulate Mississippi’s economy.

Despite the positive rhetoric, Bryant, Reeves and Gunn must agree with Webb that not much economic growth will occur in the near future. They agreed to a revenue projection for state government for the upcoming fiscal year that is below this year’s level. Then, the Legislative Budget Committee adopted a “bleak” budget recommendation that cuts most state agencies, “which are already reeling from several planned and unexpected budget cuts the past three fiscal years,” reported the Clarion-Ledger.

It’s these cuts, not the tax cuts, that have the attention of economic developers. As one conservative developer told me, “underfunding education, infrastructure, and health care hurts” development.

That aligns with what the state economist told legislative leaders – Mississippi faces economic headwinds because its workforce is less educated and less healthy than those in other states. “I believe the only thing we can do for Mississippi to be more competitive is for our people to be more competitive,” Webb said.

The Mississippi Economic Council sees infrastructure shortfalls hurting Mississippi’s competitiveness. “Every business relies on the road surface transportation system,” MEC interim president Scott Waller told the Mississippi Farm Bureau. “If you can’t move your crops, livestock, and machinery because a bridge can’t support the weight, and you have to find a different way to go, it costs you time and money.”

Since the recession in 2008, Mississippi's GDP has grown just 1.7% compared to national GDP growth of over 14% and neighboring state GDP growth of 16%.

All this makes 2018 the year to watch for Mississippi politics. Will Republican leaders’ investments in business tax cuts pay off and spur economic growth? Or will their lack of investment in education, infrastructure, and health care hold Mississippi back?

Happy New Year!


Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would help if our elected leaders weren't ignorant about economics and could do math.
It would also help if our State leaders could, at least, make a good impression and articulate some sort of vision for the future.
It's not that we don't have polished, well educated people in this State who also can be progressive in their thinking.
Few of them ever run for office and the few who do and succeed have an almost impossible task given the obstacles thrown at them by our poorly educated voters.
We are 20 years behind.

toejangle said...

To 11:06 am Dilly Dilly

Anonymous said...

Regurgitated nothing burger column.

Anonymous said...

There's a pretty simple way to look at this.

When a corporation, developer, young professional --whatever-- is looking at Mississippi, do they think:

(a) There are lots of reasons why I'd want to be there, but the taxes are too high, OR

(b) There is no reason to be there in the first place.

If it's (a), then cut taxes. If it's (b), then instead invest in reasons to come here. Simple as that.

I'll leave you MSGOP geniuses to it.

Anonymous said...

The “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act," better known as HB 1523 authored by Speaker Gun is the only thing the State Yahoos seem to care about (while taking no action in changing the flag). Special thanks goes out to our leaders for all the wonderful national coverage. What a great way to add to our image. Time to give em all da boot.

Jack Errata said...

Alexa Traffic Ranking
Rank in the United States as of December 31, 2017

Ranking calculated using a combination of average daily visitors to the site and pageviews on the site from users in the United States over the past month. Updated daily.

Clarion-Ledger = 19,061
Sun Herald = 34,068
WTVA = 34,996
MSNewsNow = 36,487
WDAM = 41,000
Jackson Jambalaya = 45,722
WLOX = 47,561
Daily Journal = 56,048
Oxford Eagle = 64,940
WAPT = 66,660
WTOK = 85,302
The Shrinking Jackson Free Press = 101,218
Hattiesburg American = 105,912
WJTV = 111,843
Desoto Times-Tribute = 124,073
Mississippi Business Journal = 126,598
WCBI = 157,521
Mississippi Today = 167,251
Y'allPolitics = 192,784
Starkville Daily News = 223,139
MPBOnline = 271,389
WXXV = 277,824
Madison County Journal = 295,402
Primeaux's Better Chancery = 353,651
Mississippi Gun Owners = 398,347
Mississippi Matters = 436,966
Mississippi Litigation Review = 477,095
WGBC = 528,734
Northside Sun = 551,760

Full Report

Anonymous said...

I am done with political parties. I am only interested with right vs wrong, good vs bad. Interesting circulation numbers. Speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

there is no difference anymore, other than who is getting the fucking handout.

Anonymous said...

I can’t wait to see how the bond rating agencies react or lower State revenue due to tax cuts.

Anonymous said...

The chances of taking off in a UFO are much better. This state has nothing to offer but a largely uneducated and unskilled workforce and an environment of hatred that is renewed each legislative session with new bills that find ways to hate even more groups. This state ranks at the bottom of the list in places worldwide that companies would consider.

Anonymous said...

1:28 and 2:15 - exactly

Anonymous said...

I just pre-paid my taxes for the quarter beginning today.

The State tax cut didn't help , thanks to Congress. Congress' tax cut didn't help as too much of my State obligation is now taxable income.

This wasn't a federal tax cut for my family. It's a federal tax increase! And worse, we had no chance to prepare for it in their rush to look "effective"!

Why? My tax deduction for state taxes is now limited to $10000 so the feds get a percentage of the difference between $10000 and the total amount of state tax obligation . The difference became taxable income. It is, of course, income I never saw as it went straight to the state. That amount is larger than the percentage of my federal tax cut.

I hate to think what is happening to those in States with higher state tax rates who pre-pay quarterly. Those who pay yearly are going to be in for a shock when it comes time to pay 2018 taxes.

But, I'll be buying less, not more. I won't be stimulating the economy to the same degree.

Best look at how much you paid in State taxes. If it's over $10000, be prepared!

Anonymous said...

To 11:19 am
Burl Ives fan, I'm too old to dilly, dilly anymore . I did dilly, dilly in the past but I have to dally, dally now.
You also should be at the age when you should dally rather than dilly.

Anonymous said...

8:25am....rich people problems....nobody gives a shit or feels sorry for you. plus, you are leaving out a plethora of ways that i am sure you are better off under the new plan. do you have an income? do you own stocks? do you buy shit from big evil corporations? are you are part of the U.S. economy?

how did you pay taxes on new years day?

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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!!!

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