Friday Facts: April 17, 2015

Friday Facts
April 16th, 2015 by Leave a Comment

It’s Friday!

Quotes of Note

Good teachers are so important to student learning that if the lowest-performing 5 to 7 percent of all teachers were replaced with just average teachers, the long-term benefits to the nation’s human capital would be enough to increase annual economic growth rates by as much as 1 percent annually, according to estimates from Stanford economist Eric Hanushek.” – Paul E. Peterson

“Culturally enriching field trips matter. … [S]eeing plays is an effective way to teach academic content; increases student tolerance by providing exposure to a broader, more diverse world; and improves the ability of students to recognize what other people are thinking or feeling.” – Jay P. Greene, “Learning from Live Theater”

Events

May 14: Secretary of State Brian Kemp keynotes the Foundation’s 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Topic: “License to Work,” a focus on jobs, licensing and the role of government. For information and registration, go here.

October 15: Mark your calendar! The sixth annual Legislative Policy Forum, takes place Thursday, October 15 at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta hotel. Details to follow; review the 2014 Forum here.

Education

It’s about the children: There was consternation when Governor Sonny Perdue revamped and renamed the Office of Education Accountability, which from 2000-2003 had worked independently and answered to Governor Roy Barnes. Perdue moved it into the Department of Education’s fold and renamed it the Office of Student Achievement. In 2010, the agency validated its worth and its name when it uncovered the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) cheating scandal and unleashing an investigation that led this week to 11 of 12 APS staff sentenced on charges including racketeering. Kudos to the agency and its leadership and staff, including our Senior Fellow, Eric Wearne. Read more about the scandal here.

Technology

Not your father’s Pac Man: Metro Atlanta is a new hub for video game developers, growing from just six companies eight years ago to more than 70 today. Source: Markteplace.org

IT jobs: Austin, Texas, saw the strongest expansion in tech sector employment among the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas from 2004 to 2014, (73.9 percent), and 36.4 percent growth in STEM jobs, the fourth-highest growth rate. Second is Raleigh, N.C., with a 39 percent increase in STEM jobs from 2004-14, the fastest growth in the nation. Atlanta was No. 28. Source: Newgeography.com

Government reform

Regulation: Brewers fell victim to the “Baptist and Bootleggers” phenomena in the legislature again this year, writes Jim Galloway in the Political Insider. “The best they could do was legislation that permits breweries to offer free beer to visitors who pay to tour the facilities.” 

Taxes and spending

Seen this week: The name,"Liberty Tax," probably has our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves!
Seen this week: The name, “Liberty Tax,” probably has our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves!

Soaking the “rich:” Do you think the top 10 percent of income earners should pay higher taxes? You might reconsider who’s “wealthy” once you calculate your income percentile ranking. Find out using this tool from Political Calculations.

The meaning of “progressive:” How does a “progressive” tax work? Watch this short video to understand.

By the numbers
4/15
: U.S. tax return deadline                   

6: Georgia’s top state individual income tax rate
43
: the number of states that levy individual income taxes

74,608: The number of pages it takes to explain the Tax Code to professionals.

Transportation

Congestion relief: Tolls are not just an infrastructure funding mechanism. As Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation points out, tolling excels at both generating revenue to finance the creation of new highway capacity and, when implemented on a variable basis, providing the best available means of reducing freeway congestion on a long-term, sustainable basis.

Troubled bridges: Kudos to Georgia’s Department of Transportation, where just 785 bridges – 5 percent – are structurally deficient; just six states have a lower percentage of deficient bridges. Source: ARTBA

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In April 2005 the Foundation published, “The Politics and Policy of Pork,” noting, “[T]he problem gets bigger because local projects are often used as leverage for much larger spending projects.” We’re happy to note local projects have been dramatically reduced!

Media

Foundation in the news: Kelly McCutchen and the Foundation were cited in a Heartland Foundation article on certificate of need programs. Kelly’s commentary on the 2015 legislative session was published in the Savannah Morning News, Athens Banner-Herald and Watchdog.org. His participation in a criminal justice panel was reported by Right On Crime.

Social media: Please “like” us (Facebook), join us (twitter.com/gppf) and share us (Friday Facts)!

The Forum: Review the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal here. In, “Checking Up On Health,” Benita Dodd shares news on an HIV outbreak, how the IRS is rewriting the Affordable Care Act and the promise of telemedicine.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Deepwater Horizon: Drawn-Out Tempest in a Teacup,” by Harold Brown.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes