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.
Watch this space: The keynote speaker at the Foundation’s next event is Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Topic: “License to Work,” a focus on jobs, licensing and the role of government.
Quotes of Note
“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.” – Edward R. Murrow
The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” – James Madison
In brief: Freedom appears to be winning the battle over regulation so far in the Georgia Legislature. Compromise bills to regulate innovative new distribution models are alive, with some (Tesla and Uber/Lyft) better than others (beer). Freedom in education, unfortunately, struck out. An Education Savings Account bill passed in committee, but was never brought up for a vote in the House; no votes were held to increase the cap on the oversubscribed tuition tax credit program, and several charter school bills failed. Transportation funding is still being debated, but hopes of any tax reform this year were once again dashed.
Taxes and spending
By the numbers: In an apples-to-apples comparison of spending (state and local spending as a percentage of personal income), this is how Georgia ranks nationally in three key areas:
Elementary and secondary education: ninth highest
Hospitals: 14th highest
Highways: 46th highest.
Source: Census Bureau
Internship opportunities: Do you know of college students seeking internships? Send them to the Foundation’s Student Outreach Scholarship page on Facebook!
Kudos: Dr. Leslie Marlow, director of the Berry College Center for Economic Education, is the winner of the prestigious Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education for her lessons on, “Using Biographies of Great Americans to Teach Economics.” It’s the fifth time the award goes to a Georgia institution and the second time it goes to Berry College!
Forced removals: The high-performing Magnolia Science Academy, a STEM-based charter school in Santa Clara, Calif., is being forced to close to make way for a renovated traditional school, even though 91 percent of students met or exceeded proficiency on science state assessments, far surpassing the 60 percent state average. A similarly high 80 percent scored proficient in English. The school district is refusing to give Magnolia, the only public charter middle and high school in the district, time to find a new campus for its nearly 500 students.
Georgia solutions: Don’t have enough time to read the Foundation’s plan for transportation improvements? Watch the three-minute video summary here.
Ridership: Transit ridership grew 24 percent from 1980 to 2012, but it required a 170 percent increase in spending. Since the growth in ridership failed to even keep up with urban population growth, per capita ridership fell by 18 percent. Source: American Public Transportation Association
Mythbusting: Virginia’s Department of Transportation has published an infographic based on one year of commuters using the Elizabeth River Tunnels toll road in Hampton Roads. It reveals that drivers overestimate what they pay in tolls and underestimate the use and benefits of the toll tunnel.
This month in the archives: In March 2005, the Foundation published, “Where has All the Water Gone – Or Has it?” Senior Fellow Harold Brown noted an interesting fact: “According to Atlanta’s Clean Water Initiative, natural ground cover evaporates 40 percent of total rainfall; urban development, just 5 percent.”
YouTube: If you missed Wednesday’s event with Attorney General Sam Olens on federalism, the rule of law and regulatory excess, you can watch or share it here on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.
The Forum: In Benita Dodd’s latest, “Checking Up On Health,” find out about inoculations, vaccinations and immunizations; telemedicine; health care fraud; ObamaCare’s extended deadlines and dementia.
Foundation in the news: Benita Dodd was quoted on transportation funding in the Atlanta Business Chronicle and interviewed for the Heartland Institute’s Daily Podcast about her commentary on solar energy funding. The commentary was also published by Master Resource and cited in an article by Foundation member Dr. James Rust, a Heartland Institute Senior Fellow. The Foundation’s Fiscal Analysis was published by Watchdorg.org
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Will Georgia Legislators Trust Citizens Who Elected Them?” by Jeffrey Dorfman.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)