March 18: The deadline is MONDAY to register for, “Federalism, The Rule of Law and Regulatory Excess,” the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast on Wednesday with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. $30. Find out more here. Register online here.
March 26: Foundation President Kelly McCutchen is a panelist at an Atlanta discussion on criminal justice reform in Georgia, hosted by the Charles Koch Institute. Find out more about, “From State in Crisis to Reform Leader: How Georgia’s Approach to Criminal Justice Is Impacting Well-Being,” at http://bit.ly/1b5eNTQ.
Quotes of Note
“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” – Frederick Douglass
“The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people’s money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly.” – Thomas Sowell
“Marietta has numerous ‘needs’ – less crime, more redevelopment, better schools and progress on remaking the troubled Franklin Road corridor. Unfortunately, a trolley system – like Atlanta’s fancy new streetcars – is a tax-guzzling “want,” not a need. Trolley service should be left to the private sector while the council focuses on its more pressing needs.” – Marietta Daily Journal
Regulatory straitjacket: The Federal Communications Commission’s new general conduct rule prohibits Internet providers from engaging in “unreasonable interfering” or “unreasonably disadvantaging” others. As Randolph May of Maryland’s Free State Foundation points out, “these terms are so standardless that the Commission can exercise discretion arbitrarily to favor one company or market segment or another. This will lead to an ongoing exercise of power akin to the ‘dispensing power’ exercised by the kings of England using the royal prerogative.”
Taxes and spending
Pain, no gain: If you thought this year has the worst tax season ever, you’re right, according to Ben Steverman in Bloomberg Business. He cites the hassles of ObamaCare, growing fraud, a broke Internal Revenue Service and procrastinating American filers. Source: AccountingtToday.com
By the numbers: Georgia ranks 39th in the nation in total state and local taxes as a percentage of personal income. (1 is highest). Reflecting Georgia’s decentralized governing, that breaks down to No. 44 on state taxes but No. 16 on local taxes. As for own source revenue, the state is No. 43 in the nation as a percentage of personal income – 49th at the state level and No. 7 at the local level. Source: Census Bureau
Georgia solutions: Don’t have enough time to read the Foundation’s 90-page plan for transportation improvements? Watch the three-minute video summary here.
Federal funds: Congress most likely will find another Band-aid in the spring for the perennial Highway Trust Fund shortfalls, writes Martin Sullivan in Forbes magazine. He emphasizes, “Congress will do the minimum at the last minute.” It’s why we have long advocated devolving funding to the states.
This month in the archives: In March 2003, the Foundation published, “Proposed Tobacco Tax Hike Deserves To Be Snuffed Out.” It noted, “[I]f the state’s general budget needs a cash infusion, it ought to come from Georgia taxpayers in general, not specifically from Georgia’s smokers or drinkers or motorists or boaters, and not disguised as in their own interest. A tax is a tax is a tax.”
Foundation in the news: Kelly McCutchen was quoted by the Heartland Institute of March 6 on Georgia ridesharing legislation; his op-ed on alternatives to Medicaid expansion appeared in the March 10 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required). Benita Dodd was quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal of March 7 on Georgia’s 2015 transportation funding legislation.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “As Sunshine Week Approaches, Cloud Hangs over Solar Financing in Georgia,” by Benita Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.