Court rules in favor of Cochran’s motion to dismiss against Chris McDaniel.

Judge says McDaniel waited too late to file challenge with the MS GOP.

Special Judge Hollis McGehee announced this afternoon an election challenge filed by Chris McDaniel will not move forward and go to trial.

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s attorneys claim Chris McDaniel’s team waited too long to file their challenge of the June 24th Republican primary runoff results.

McDaniel’s team filed that challenge August 4th. Cochran’s attorneys pointed to a 1959 Mississippi Supreme Court ruling that states a challenge to a district or statewide election must be initiated within 20 days of the election.

Stay tuned.

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GAO Report: Government Fails to Trace Food Stamp Fraud Online

States are ill equipped to detect and report food stamp fraud in the digital age, including attempts to sell benefits for cash, alcohol and other services, a new report says.

Much of the fraud occurs through social media and e-commerce websites such as Craigslist, the investigation by the Government Accountability Office found.

The GAO reviewed state and federal efforts to address fraud committed by recipients of food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which falls under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report noted:

The Office of Management and Budget has designated SNAP as a high-error program due to the estimated dollar amount in improper payments for fiscal year 2013.

In fiscal 2013, SNAP provided over $76 billion in benefits designed to help about 28 million Americans purchase food. On average, recipient households received about $275 a month in assistance.

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BRUNORI: Repealing Mississippi’s Franchise Tax Is A Good Idea

BY: David Brunori

The problems with the franchise tax should be obvious. The tax is imposed without respect to profitability. Thus, start-ups and businesses caught in an economic downturn pay. That is true with all property taxes, of course. But the difference between a property tax on business capital and a property tax on real property is plain: Business capital can be moved and real property cannot. Again, taxing mobility in a world in which governments are competing for business does not work.

Moreover, franchise or capital stock taxes vary significantly in the states that still impose them. The bases include net worth, capital stock, capital stock plus surpluses, and personal property, with formulas sometimes tied to revenue and sometimes to profits. It’s complicated. It’s even more complicated when large multinationals must apportion such taxes (with conflicting bases). And the tax is almost always imposed in addition to the corporate income tax, which is itself pretty complicated. Why a state would purposely impose such burdens on its business community is beyond me.

Some will claim that the franchise tax is necessary for the sake of fairness. Corporations need to pay their fair share. But business entities don’t pay taxes; people do. And as with the corporate income tax, it is really unclear where the incidence of franchise taxes falls. Perhaps it falls on the owners of capital in the form of lower returns. But maybe it falls on employees in the form of lower wages, or on consumers in the form of higher prices. If it is the latter, there is nothing fair about that.

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14 school districts sue state, Musgrove and fellow lawyers could make over $27 million

14 school districts sue state for underfunding Mississippi Adequate Educational Program

Fourteen Mississippi school districts sued the state Thursday, seeking money they say they were illegally shorted by the state’s public school funding formula over the last six years.

The lawsuit also asks a judge to order lawmakers to never again underfund the Mississippi Adequate Educational Program.

State lawmakers have underfunded the formula by $1.5 billion since 2009. The districts, including Greenville, Hattiesburg and Simpson County, say they’re owed $115 million. More school systems could join the lawsuit, but districts that don’t join would not receive back money.

Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has been pushing the effort. As lieutenant governor in 1997, the Democrat helped steer the Mississippi Adequate Education Program into law over the veto of Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice.

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Jindal Suit Says Obama Forced #CommonCore on Louisiana and other states.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal today sued the Obama administration over Common Core, contending that federal officials unlawfully coerced Louisiana and other states into adopting the increasingly unpopular national education standards.

“The federal government has hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative,” Jindal said in a prepared statement.

The lawsuit, filed this morning by the Republican governor in federal court in Baton Rouge, La., alleges that the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama used a $4.3 billion grant program and waiver policy to trap states in a federal “scheme” to nationalize school curriculum.

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Superintendents say low test scores on MCT-2 show #CommonCore methods are working.

The Department of Education this week released Mississippi Curriculum Test, 2nd Edition scores from the 2013-2014 school year, and most students didn’t perform as well as they did on the 2012-2013 test.

Local educators say that’s OK. As a matter of fact, that’s what they wanted to see.

“I was kind of glad to see our scores drop,” Jackson County School District Superintendent Barry Amacker said. “To me, that means we’re following the plan. We powered down the MCT, and we’re powering up on Common Core. I’d be a little worried if the scores went up for some reason.”

The MCT-2 tests third through eighth-grade students in language arts and mathematics and scores them at four levels: advanced, proficient, basic or minimal.

That was the last time Mississippi students will ever take the MCT-2, as the state will transition to Common Core standards and assessments this year.

The MCT-2 will disappear, and the Common Core’s new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment will be given.

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Republican office holders tread lightly around discussion of MAEP

Both Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves have expressed concerns with the effort of a newly formed grassroots organization to garner enough signatures to place on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to fully fund public education.

Other Republican state officeholders were cautiously non-committal in response to a Daily Journal survey about the initiative.

The only statewide elected official to endorse the proposal was Attorney General Jim Hood, who is also the only Democrat in the group.

>>>PLUNKETT: Time for Republicans to exorcise the education demons and fully fund MAEP<<<

In a statement last week and in late July at the Neshoba County Fair, Bryant said, “Right now I would not vote for it.” He said the proposal would increase “uncertainty with the state budget.”

At a meeting with the Daily Journal editorial board earlier this summer, Reeves, also a Republican, stopped short of saying he would not vote for it, but like Bryant expressed concern that placing the language in the state Constitution through the initiative process would take the power of the purse strings away from the Legislature and place it with the judiciary.

“If this initiative becomes law, it changes the responsibility from elected persons in the House and Senate and gives that responsibility to one judge in Hinds County,” Reeves said, referring to appropriating state funds for the local school districts. “I am not sure in the long term that is good public policy.

“I think that is a debate that needs to be had.”

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