– Tuesday is the deadline to register for the “The Battle,” the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon on Thursday, May 12, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. The keynote speaker is Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. The cost to attend this event is $35. To find out more and register, go tohttp://tinyurl.com/3c3kpdu
– Thursday, May 19: The 2011 National Manufacturing Summit takes place at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton. Based on the idea that manufacturing is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy and a driving factor behind its position as a dominant force in the global marketplace, the summit features prominent speakers sharing their views on what manufacturing needs in order to reclaim prominence. Attendance is free with online registration at www.mfg2011summit.com/.
– Tuesday, May 10: Hear about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s take on technology and “How Georgia Can Take a Quantum Leap with Digital Learning,” when I address the TAG Breakfast Series hosted by the Technology Association of Georgia. Find out more here: http://tinyurl.com/3uz28ef
– Tuesday, May 10: More than 1,200 industry executives will attend the 2011 Georgia Logistics Summit at the Cobb Galleria. Look for coverage in The Forum, the Foundation’s interactive online site, on the presentations about the impact on Georgia of federal and state policies, the use of technology, emerging world markets and the world trade outlook.
– If you’ve attended a Foundation event recently, don’t forget to follow up with a visit to the Foundation’s Facebook page and view the photographs! Go tohttp://tinyurl.com/y9uagnq.
– “The good news: Osama bin Laden is dead. The bad news: There is no bad news.” – Jay Leno
– “Imagine if we were to discover a new form of cheap, clean energy so abundant that it will provide our needs at least for the next two centuries, freeing us from the pervasive early 21st century neurosis of having to worry about ‘peak oil’ or ‘conserving scarce resources’, causing a worldwide economic boom and with the added side-benefit of creating more fertilizer so that we can not only heat our homes more cheaply than ever before but also eat more cheaply than ever before. Imagine how Environmentalists would react if such a miracle came into being. Actually we don’t need to imagine for the miracle is already here. It’s called Shale Gas.” – James Delingpole, The Daily Telegraph
– School choice: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the School Scholarships Act into law this week, creating the nation’s largest voucher program for low- and middle-income families. The law also doubles the preexisting cap on the scholarship tax-credit program and creates a tax deduction for any family that pays out of pocket for educational expenses relating to private or home schools. Approximately 600,000 students are expected to qualify, but participation for the first year is capped at 7,500 students and 15,000 students for 2012-2013. Limits are removed starting in year three. Source: Foundation for Educational Choice
– Profits and education: The government and education stakeholders should not discriminate between for-profits and nonprofits, says Michael Horn of the American Enterprise Institute. “Policies and purchasing should instead focus on and define the desired outcomes from government spending without specifying the processes or inputs used to achieve those outcomes. They should also reward those entities – regardless of corporate structure – that do the best at achieving the outcomes for the best price relative to the competition.” Read more at www.aei.org/paper/100216.
Taxes and Spending
– Georgia receives credit for having one of the nation’s 10 best-funded state employee pension funds in a study by the Pew Center on the States. The state’s funding level for retiree health care costs, however, does not rank among the best: Georgia’s pensions are 87 percent funded but projected retiree health care costs are just 4 percent funded. Read Mike Klein’s report on the study in the The Forum at http://tinyurl.com/6jbb9zg
– About 4.3 million more people were diagnosed with asthma between 2001 and 2009, a 12.3 percent increase, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week in its Vital Signs publication. The cost of treating the disease grew from $53 billion in 2002 to $56 billion in 2007. Asthma rates increased nearly 50 percent among black children to one in six children, twice the rate of white children. Asthma rates were also highest among the poor, although asthma increased in every demographic group. To read Foundation adjunct scholar Harold Brown’s recent commentary, “Let the Asthma Blame Games Begin,” go to http://tinyurl.com/6j4vnlz.
– Losing cover: The percentage of individuals under age 65 with employment-based health coverage has slowly declined since 2000, but 2009 was the first year in which the percentage fell below 60 percent, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. It also marked the largest one-year decline in coverage. Read more here:http://tinyurl.com/3bb646h.
– “The small town I live in has had to make significant budget cuts, none of which were popular,” writes Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation. “Of course, cities across the country are cutting services, raising taxes and even in some cases contemplating bankruptcy. But a notable exception is Sandy Springs, a suburban community of about 80,000 just north of Atlanta, Georgia. Since incorporating in 2005, Sandy Springs has improved its services, invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure and kept taxes flat. And get this: Sandy Springs has no long-term liabilities. And they did this by outsourcing [nearly] everything. It’s a fascinating story – watch this short video about it.”Source: Reason Foundation
Energy and environment
– Going green, costing green: Since 2000, Spain has spent $848,202 (571,138 euro) to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than $1.49 million per wind industry job, Kenneth Green reports in The American. A 2009 study found that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy. That’s 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created. Read his commentary on Spain at http://tinyurl.com/3k9oka4. Read Benita Dodd’s commentary on the cost of German renewable energy in the May edition of Georgia magazine at http://tinyurl.com/3q3orlz.
– Oh no, Ohio: Ohio Gov. John Kasich now has evidence that so-called “renewable” energy mandates raise electricity costs, subtract jobs and harm the economy, Paul Chesser reports in Cincinnati.com. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/6dv9tr7.
– Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Health care Reform: Treat Disease, Not Symptoms,” by Brian Hill.
Have a great weekend.
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I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)