October 15: Just 19 days left to register for the Sixth Annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly on Thursday, October 15! Join legislators, government affairs representatives and other interested Georgians to learn from national experts how “Opportunity” knocks at this daylong event with the theme of “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
“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Any serious look at the history of human beings over the millennia shows that the species began in poverty. It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things – none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.” – Thomas Sowell
“As we look around the world, it is inarguable that socialistic economic models – from [Pope] Francis’ native Argentina to Greece – are crumbling right before our eyes and making people poorer. A recent Heritage Foundation study finds that free markets are by far the best tools to reduce poverty. High taxes, trade barriers and big welfare states may be well intentioned, but they make the poor poorer.” – Stephen Moore
Municipal broadband: The Peachtree City Council has unanimously approved spending $3.2 million in taxpayer money for broadband it will sell to businesses, despite the financial risks and residents’ trepidation, according to a Watchdog article. City Finance Director Paul Salvatore said this approach failed in other municipalities because they “failed to partner with the right people.” Way back in 1998, this Foundation warned of the dangers of government competing with private enterprise.
School choice tool: GreatSchools, a national nonprofit helping over 50 million parents nationally find high-quality schools and resources, along with The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, is announcing a new, mobile-friendly Web tool for parents. GreatSchoolsAtlanta.org will help parents in the Atlanta metro area understand their K-12 school options and access resources to help support their child’s education. GreatSchools will be at the 2015 Atlanta Neighborhood Summit Saturday, September 26, to demonstrate the tool.
Misinformed: Two recent articles have taken issue with school choice, one in Nonprofit Quarterly focusing on Wisconsin and Arizona and another in The Washington Post criticizing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for championing charter schools. In fact, school choice does indeed have financial and academic achievement benefits, Martin Lueken writes in EducationNext.
Latinos and school choice: Latinos believe strongly in school choice, a new Friedman Foundation poll shows. About 62 percent of Latinos support charter schools and 71 percent favor education vouchers. Nearly 73 percent support an education savings account program (ESA) and 76 percent said they support a tax-credit scholarship program.
Business leader: For the second year in a row, Area Development Magazine has named Georgia the top state for doing business. Other states in the top 10 include Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Georgia was No.1 for labor climate; No. 2 for overall infrastructure and global access, behind Tennessee; and No. 3 for business climate, behind Texas and South Carolina.
Troubled waters: Premiums for job-based medical insurance rose a modest 4 percent in 2015 but plan deductibles rose at a substantially higher rate than total health costs, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey. While premiums rose 24 percent since 2010, the average dollar amount of deductibles for individual plans has risen 67 percent.
Criminal justice reform
Unintended consequences: Should ignorance of the law still be no excuse when laws have exploded in both number and complexity? Heritage Scholar and former Foundation Board member John Malcolm argues that holding everyday citizens criminally liable for conduct that no reasonable person would know is unlawful is not only unfair; it is immoral. Reform is needed at both the state and federal level.
This month in the archives: In September 2003, the Foundation published, “State Needs to Come Around to Roundabouts.” It noted: “The savings in gasoline, construction costs, lost time and electricity are really astronomical money bonuses over and above the lives and injuries saved by roundabouts.” Today, the state has about 145 built and more than 100 in various stages of design and construction!
Foundation in the media: The Columbia County News-Times published Kelly McCutchen’s commentary on freedom of speech.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)