Quotes of Note
“Elections should be held on April 16 – the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.” – Thomas Sowell
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” – Abraham Lincoln
Trick or treat: How about this Halloween scare? Seventeen states have imposed higher taxes on candy and 26 have enacted tax hikes on sugary beverages. The nanny government claim is usually “reducing unhealthy eating.” But don’t be tricked: The mission creep evidence suggests that their primary motive may be to feed the government’s growing addiction to tax revenue. Source: Independent Institute
Scary tax rank: In the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate 2015, Georgia ranks 36th in the nation. We’re in the top 10 for corporate tax rates (No. 8) but in the bottom 10 for individual income tax rates (No. 42). For reference: Georgia trails Florida (No. 5 overall), Texas (10), Tennessee (15), North Carolina (16), Mississippi (18), Alabama (28) and Louisiana (35). South Carolina is 37th; No. 1 is Wyoming and No. 50 is New Jersey.
Boo to minimum wage mandates: CEO John Tillman of our sister think tank, the Illinois Policy Institute, believes government raising the minimum wage harms low-income and young Americans. In Forbes magazine, Tim Worstall writes, “Higher wages leads to fewer people being paid wages.” Case in point: London Cinema workers celebrating victory in a campaign to adopt the “London Living Wage” were told about a quarter of the cinema staff was being fired because of the cost of the increased wage.
Dependency is frightening: Ending dependency on government requires enhancing education and economic opportunity to empower individuals and help families and taxpayers. Consider that the number of Georgians receiving food stamps increased more than 50 percent from Fiscal Year 2009 to FY 2013 – to almost 2 million. Georgia’s rolls are down almost 3 percent since last year. The biggest one-year declines came in Wyoming (11.3 percent), Vermont (11.4 percent) and Kansas (10.6 percent).
College kudos: Georgia Tech, which tops this list of Business Insider’s 100 smartest public colleges in America. The University of Georgia was Number 33 and Georgia College & State University ranked No. 94.
Moving up: Georgia’s public high school graduation rate has increased for the third consecutive year, rising from 71.8 percent in 2013 to 72.5 percent in 2014, a total of 5.1 percentage points since 2011.
School choice: About 20 percent of Swedish children attend charter schools, known as “free schools.” The Financial Times carried a commentary sharply critical of the free schools’ performance. But scores show a fall of six points among free-school (charter) students taking the 2012 PISA academic tests and a 34-point drop by comparable students in government-run schools. Source: PhilanthropyDaily.com
Energy and environment
Global bogeyman: Climate expert Judith Curry, professor at Georgia Tech, questions the validity of climate change policy. “The warming hiatus, combined with assessments that the climate-model sensitivities are too high, raises serious questions as to whether the climate-model projections of 21st century temperatures are fit for making public policy decisions.”
Energy and environment
Nuclear’s sweet: Did you know? The U.S. Nuclear Navy comprises 86 submarines and aircraft carriers. The fleet has logged over 5,400 reactor years of accident-free operations and travelled over 130 million miles on nuclear energy, enough to circle the earth 3,200 times. That was one of the successes trumpeted last week during Nuclear Science Week. Source: Forbes.com
Monstrous overreach: In an unprecedented breach of private property rights, the federal Environmental Protection Agency wants jurisdiction over “most” seasonal and rain-dependent streams, which account for about 60 percent of stream miles in the country, arguing they have “a considerable impact on the downstream waters.” The EPA claims the rulemaking isn’t groundbreaking but a clarification effort needed after Supreme Court decisions. Source: PJMedia
November 2: Daylight Savings Time comes to an end Sunday morning; don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour and change the batteries in smoke detectors.
November 4: Remember to vote Tuesday. Are you an MVP? Don’t know where to vote In Georgia? Go to http://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/, “My Voter Page,” established by the Secretary of State’s Office.
November 14: The Cato Institute holds a policy forum and luncheon at the Intercontinental Buckhead, 3315 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta. Speakers are David Boaz, Cato Executive Vice President, on “Reclaiming Freedom,” and Chris Edwards, Cato’s director of Tax Policy Studies, on, “Downsizing the Federal Government.” 11:30-2:00. $30. Register here.
This month in the archives: On October 17, 1997, the Foundation published, “Mugged by Reality.” “It is important to note that a troublesome youngster typically has 10 or 12 contacts with the criminal-justice system and many more undiscovered offenses before he ever receives any formal ‘adjudication,’ or finding of guilt, from a judge.” Today, Georgia’s criminal justice reform is well under way – and Governor Nathan Deal gave the Foundation credit.
Web site of the Week: My Voter Page, at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/, provides personalized information for Georgia voters.
Social media: Have you “liked” the Foundation’s Facebook page yet? More than 2,370 of our friends get the Foundation’s news first! Join them for daily updates on news and policy views as well as event alerts. Join our 1,300-plus follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gppf!
The Forum: In her, “Checking Up On Health,” Benita Dodd shares updates on the Ebola response and some faux optimism if you’ve lost your insurance plan. In, “Never Underestimate the Power of a Field Trip,” Benita, who grew up in apartheid South Africa, highlights a study on the impact of field trips on low-income students. Read these and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Have a great weekend and a safe Halloween!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation should take a lot of pride in your influence on Georgia governmental policy over the past several years. If you look back on several things that you were crying in the wilderness about several years ago, you will find that Governor Miller adopted them…your influence and your pressure on that process has been a major factor in governmental policy in Georgia. You should be congratulated.