October 15: The countdown has begun to the Sixth Annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly on Thursday, October 15. In less than a month, “Opportunity” knocks at this daylong event, whose theme is, “Wisdom, Justice and Opportunity.” Details here. Registration is $125 per person and includes breakfast and lunch. Register here. Sponsorships are available; contact Benita Dodd.
December 8: Mark your calendar! The Foundation hosts, “The Case for K-12 Student-Based Budgeting in Georgia,” a panel discussion at The Cobb Galleria. Details to follow.
Quotes of Note
“At one time you had a lot of people who hadn’t had any economics saying foolish things. Now you have well-known economists saying foolish things.” – Thomas Sowell
“The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the Judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.” – Thomas Jefferson
“There is surely no contradiction in saying that a certain section of the community may be quite competent to protect the persons and property of the rest, yet quite unfit to direct our opinions, or to superintend our private habits.” – Thomas Babington Macaulay
Fair share: A group of Baltimore City charter schools has filed a lawsuit seeking a fair share of education funding. According to the Baltimore Sun, these schools are among the highest performing in the city, spending less than their traditional public school counterparts. Baltimore City spends at or near the top per student among Maryland’s districts, yet just 16 percent of eighth-graders and 14 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in reading.
Priorities: Writing about a recent survey that found 26 percent of American parents of a high school athlete say they hope their child will go on to play professional sports, Christopher Ingraham points out, “Too often, it seems like the families who can least afford it are devoting large amounts of time and attention on their kids’ athletic prospects, and shortchanging their academic ones.”
Coverage up: The percentage of Americans without health insurance dropped by nearly three percentage points between 2013 and 2014, according the U.S. Census Bureau, from 13.3 percent to 10.4 percent. Put another way, 8.8 million more people were insured in 2014 than the year before. Source: Kaiser Health News
Premiums up, too: Many Georgians buying individual or family health insurance will see double-digit increases in their premiums for 2016, Georgia Health News reports.
Demand unrelenting: Georgia’s uninsured rate in 2014 fell by three percentage points, to 15.8 percent. But some safety-net providers in Georgia say they have not seen a drop in demand for medical care from uninsured patients, Georgia Health News reports.
Man of steel: A 54-year-old Spanish cancer patient received the world’s first 3-D printed rib cage and sternum implant, produced by the Australian technology firm CSIRO. CT scans of the patient’s chest were used to “custom print” the titanium sternum and rib cage for the patient. One physician predicts that in “our hospital of the future … you scan them and immediately next to that operating table you can print them that scaffold.”
Criminal justice reform
Families suffer: Georgia is a national leader in issues of criminal justice reform; just last week the Foundation praised education innovation in Georgia’s juvenile justice system. Recent articles in The Washington Post and The Atlantic highlight how families suffer as criminals are incarcerated, often far from home, and even after an inmate is released. Fortunately, Georgia is working to improve economic opportunity, too. Find out more at the Legislative Policy Forum.
State Impact: Georgia and Texas led this criminal justice reform effort and many states have followed. Now both President Obama and Republican candidates in Wednesday night’s debate seem ready to reform federal criminal justice laws. Welfare reform and countless other important reforms started at the state level. That’s why your investment in the work we do here in Georgia is so important. If you aren’t a member, please join today!
This month in the archives: In September 2010, the Foundation published, “A Primer on Gross Receipts Taxes.” It noted: “At first, a gross receipts tax seems appealing from a base-broadening perspective. But it comes with a lack of transparency and with much arbitrariness in the tax burden across industries because of the tax pyramiding caused by business-to-business transactions.”
Foundation in the media: The Atlanta Business Chronicle published Senior Fellow Jim Kelly’s article on the Seven Cs in education. The Columbia County News-Times published Brad Raffensperger’s commentary on the rule of law.
The Forum: Read the Heritage Foundation’s factsheet, “Seven Things You Should Know about Civil Asset Forfeiture.”
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.