Quotes of Note
“To the Founders, free speech was indispensable. How could the people choose among candidates or public policies if debate were not free? As Benjamin Franklin wrote, ‘Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.’ Today, this view no longer holds for many. Students silence those with views they deem unacceptable, often encouraged by a complicit faculty and a craven administration.” – David Tucker, “Stand Up for Free Speech on National Bill of Rights Day”
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson
“The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.” – Calvin Coolidge
“The truth, in my opinion, is this: There is no alternative for an education, and no hope for a person who doesn’t want to learn something useful and apply it. But there are many, many alternatives to college. And none of them come with a prison sentence.” – Mike Rowe
January 27: National School Choice Week is celebrated January 24-30 in 2016. Celebrate with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation at “Georgia Education: Reforms and Recommendations,” a Leadership Breakfast 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 27 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. This panel discussion is open to the public. $30. Free parking. Register to attend here.
Energy and environment
Shining a light on solar plan: Kudos to our sister think tank in the Sunshine State! The James Madison Institute’s new study analyzed a proposed constitutional amendment on solar energy, finding it costly to Florida taxpayers and “crony capitalism at its worst.” Source: Sunshine State News
Breaking the law: The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert propaganda,” violating federal law, when it blitzed social media to urge the public to support President Obama’s controversial rule to toughen regulations on the nation’s streams and surface waters, the Government Accountability Office reported this week. Source: New York Times
Flood of bad ideas: The Union of Concerned Scientists is demanding that “all presidential candidates should address the question of how to help communities prepare for and protect themselves from sea level rise and other coastal climate impacts.” As Foundation Senior Fellow Harold Brown has explained, it’s complicated and environmental activists are exploiting the issue to further their own agenda.
Share your views: Take the Foundation’s poll on Education Savings Accounts: Visit https://poll.fbapp.io/gppf-esa2.
Less is more: North Carolina, Florida and Texas continue to outperform Georgia on student achievement while spending less per student. Florida, for example, was ranked fourth in the nation by a recent Urban Institute study; Georgia ranked 19th. Florida’s per student spending is $8,535 compared to Georgia at $9,890. This does not reflect the more than $1 billion of increased education funding in Georgia since Fiscal Year 2014. For comparison, Georgia has more than 1.7 million students, so every $1,000 change in per student spending is equivalent to more than $1.7 billion.
Streetcar: Last week, the Atlanta City Council approved a 50-mile Streetcar System Plan. This week, a Bloomberg News article called the Streetcar “a rolling homeless shelter.” The Foundation has written extensively criticizing the project.
Why you need your think tank: Over the past eight years, federal agencies spent more than of $4.35 billion of your dollars on public relations while employing 3,100 public affairs officers, Forbes magazine reports. Further, since 2007 the federal agencies spent an additional $2.03 billion with outside public relations firms. At least we ask you to voluntarily support the Foundation! Source: Forbes
This month in the archives: In December 2010, the Foundation published, “Water Policy-makers Flooded with Proposals and Solutions.” It noted, “just as Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem but a spending problem, Georgia doesn’t have a water supply problem but a water storage problem.”
Foundation in the news The Columbia County News Times published, “Moving toward transparent and student-based funding reform,” by Aaron Smith and Lisa Snell. The Citizen published Kelly McCutchen’s response to a letter from Peachtree City officials accusing the Foundation of misrepresenting facts on that city’s broadband plan.
Visit our Facebook album of 30 (tongue-in-cheek) reasons you should not contribute to the Foundation. Choose us as your beneficiary when you shop smile.amazon.com. Remember: All contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible but Amazon will donate one-half percent of your purchase price at no cost to you!
Visit http://www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Education Savings Accounts: Getting “More” for Georgia Students,” by Ben Scafidi.
Have a great weekend and a Merry Christmas!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
P.S. We asked Santa to send you a special message!
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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.)