January 21: The deadline is Monday to register for “School Choice: The Next Frontier,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The keynote speaker is Dr. Ben Scafidi, Foundation Senior Fellow and the new director of Kennesaw State University’s Education Economics Center. Hear more about Education Savings Accounts, the tuition tax credit program, the proposed Opportunity School District, efforts to replace the QBE funding formula and more. $30. Register by Monday, January 19, at http://bit.ly/1yeTHbm.
Saturday: Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd keynotes a community forum, 10 a.m. at the Pat Haralson Memorial Civic Center in Blairsville, sponsored by the Union County GOP. Information: Patrick Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 18: Mark your calendar! The Georgia Public Policy Foundation and Reason Foundation will tackle Georgia transportation and funding solutions in a panel discussion, “Transportation Money Matters.” $30. To register, go here.
Quotes of Note
“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate sin is that the government would become increasingly dependent on a sin tax to prop up its budget while carrying out the charade of caring about the health of the sinner.” – Benita Dodd
“We need the private sector to create jobs. If the government could create jobs Communism would have worked, but it didn’t.” – Tim Scott
Yellow Pages test: This week (Thursday) marks 60 years since the Eisenhower Administration declared that, “government will not start or carry on any commercial activity to provide a service or product for its own use if such product or service can be procured from private enterprise through ordinary business channels.” The Business Coalition for Fair Competition finds government “competition” still is a problem.
Civil asset forfeiture: New York’s civil asset forfeiture program is a mess, according to auditors. It’s time auditors take a closer look at Georgia’s program, too. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is being urged to quit sharing the funds from seized property.
Waging war on poverty: Raising the minimum wage sounds like a pain-free way to help people, but stubborn facts keep showing that it has many bad consequences. The Earned Income Tax Credit is far more effective in rewarding the dignity of work. Source: American Enterprise Institute:
Sin tax: There’s talk about increasing Georgia’s cigarette tax, with some estimates that a $1.25 increase in the state tax could raise $350 million. The Foundation opposed the last tax increase in 2003. An analysis by the Mackinac Center released this week found that higher taxes hike smuggling, too.
Business breaks: Georgia offered $23 million in incentives to bring Mercedes-Benz to Sandy Springs. A 1996 Foundation analysis noted, “Georgia should focus on factors that are really important to businesses in making location decisions: 1) the availability of an educated and trainable workforce, 2) low taxes, 3) a high quality of life, 4) first-class research and development facilities, and 5) non-burdensome regulations.”
Tolls vs. taxes: When Georgia was looking at a transportation sales tax in 2010, Denver representatives came to Atlanta to explain how they implemented their transportation tax increase. Today, Denver-area officials are back to looking at user fees – tolls.
This month in the archives: In January 2005, the Foundation published, “Is More Money the Answer to Budget Woes?” The answer: “Throwing money at the problem is not the answer. We must provide incentives so that we spend health care and education dollars as carefully as we spend our own money – demanding both quality and a fair price.”
Foundation in the media: Kelly McCutchen’s op-ed on Georgia’s 2015 issue priorities appeared in the January 11 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Read it here.
Web site of the week: Where can you buy 3.5 million baby jars? College football playoff leftovers? Expired bottled water? Repurposedmaterialsinc.com offers a second life in new industries to a fascinating list of byproducts and waste.
The Forum: Benita Dodd’s, “Checking Up On Health,” shares news about telehealth, health care consumerism and how much is too much when it comes to showering.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “A Window of Opportunity to Get Transportation Funding Right,” by Kelly McCutchen.
Have a great weekend!
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.