Quotes of Note
“Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story who resolved not to go into the water until he had learnt to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.” – Thomas Babington Macaulay (1825)
“There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.” – Adam Smith (1776)
October 11: Register now for the fourth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, which takes place Friday, October 11, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. Last year, hundreds of Georgia’s legislators, businesspeople and interested citizens attended to hear national policy experts discuss free-market solutions to Georgia’s challenges. Speakers include: Georgia Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias, Fred Cooper, Chairman of Cooper Capital, Florida House Health Appropriations Chair Rep. Matt Hudson, Carol Steckel, director of the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance, Tarren Bragdon, President of the Foundation for Government Accountability, former Georgia State Senator Sam Zamarripa, John Kramer, Vice President for Communications at the Institute for Justice and Dr. Rich Demillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. Information and registration: http://tinyurl.com/lma9kpt. Taxes and regulation
Winning strategy: North Carolina’s recent tax code overhaul is expected to move the Tar Heel State from 44th to 17th place in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, catapulting it ahead of all its neighbors except Tennessee. This is the largest rank improvement in the 10-year history of the Index and should lead to more job creation, capital formation, and higher wages for North Carolinians in the years ahead. Georgia should follow suit. Source: Forbes magazine
Losing strategy: Ohio is the only state to grant each municipality broad autonomy to determine what is in its income tax base. The local ordinances defining these hundreds of distinct income tax systems exceed a staggering 16,000 pages, a huge compliance burden, as employers, especially contractors of varying stripes, must track their employees’ location by hour, by jurisdiction to properly comply with the differing tax codes. An electrical contractor once filed 221 W-2s for 19 employees, along with 39 business returns, most having a tax due of $5 or less. It’s no surprise that between 2000 and 2010, Ohio lost more private sector jobs than any other state except Michigan. Source: Forbes magazine
Atlanta’s public charter schools won a victory to preserve their public education funding this week when the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Atlanta Public Schools (APS) can’t make charter schools participate in paying off a $550 million pension debt. The court decided that the amount of money charter schools receive is set by state law, and APS can’t reduce its funding to pay for systemwide expenses like the pension liability, which has been accruing since the 1980s. (Too late, unfortunately, for Tech High, the charter high school this Foundation helped establish. Facing the loss of funds, the school was forced to shut down.)
Did you know? When transportation consultancy firm Cambridge Systematics examined the worst bottlenecks in the United States, five of the top 25, or 20 percent, were in metro Atlanta.
The benefits of managed lanes: Managed lanes encourage highway users to pay the full cost of construction and maintenance, they actively manage congestion and they increase the quality of transit service, Foundation Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum points out in his recent Reason Foundation study, “Practical Strategies for Increasing Mobility in Atlanta.”
At what cost congestion? Congestion means longer travel times, increased costs and less reliable pick-up and delivery times for truck operators. To compensate for congestion, motor carriers typically add vehicles and drivers and extend their hours of operation. Over time, most of these costs are passed along to shippers and consumers. Source: Federal Highway Administration
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Foundation staffers are out of the office this week at the annual State Policy Network conference in Oklahoma City, meeting with other state think tanks. Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read recent commentaries.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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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.)