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 ( is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.


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... 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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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.

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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.

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