Then and Now: In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, a 26-inch RCA color console TV would have cost $1,166.72 in today’s dollars. Today, $1,199 would buy you a 55-inch ultra-HD TV!
Quotes of Note
“All these smaller cities investing billions into rail had better hope their projections of massive benefits come true, because all too soon the rebuild bill will start coming due. If you don’t believe me, just ask Washington.” – Aaron M. Renn
“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.” – Thomas Jefferson
Sine die: The 2015-16 legislative session adjourned sine die last night. Any bill not passed must be introduced anew in 2017. The Foundation will analyze the session next week. Unfortunately, several issues on the Foundation’s agenda failed to get traction. Among the proposals that fell short by “Crossover Day” were certificate of need repeal; civil asset forfeiture reform and education savings accounts.
Marriage factor: There are numerous policy proposals to lift Americans out of poverty, but “we cannot lose sight of the fact that the math – more workers, higher-earning men, and less family drama – tends to favor parents who manage to get and stay married,” W. Bradford Wilcox of the American Enterprise Institute writes in, “The math favors married parents.”
Opportunity knocks in NC: While North Carolina is eliminating licensing boards and the occupational licenses they regulate, Georgia legislators added licensing requirements for “lactation consultants.”
Energy and environment
Urbanization slows: The pace of urbanization of rural lands has dramatically slowed, Randal O’Toole reports, citing the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s recently published 2012 Natural Resources Inventory. Between 1982 and 2002, the amount of developed land was growing faster than 2.5 percent per year, but the rate slowed to less than 1.5 percent per year after 2002 and less than 1 percent after 2007.
Renewable energy: In 2007, North Carolina became the first state in the Southeast to adopt a renewable energy portfolio, mandating that by 2021 the state have 12.5 percent of its electricity come from renewable sources or efficiency measures. So far, it has reached 6.6 percent. Georgia, which has taken a market-based approach, also generates 6 percent of its electricity from renewables. Source: Saporta Report
Good shape: U.S. nuclear plants can have their operating licenses extended from 60 to 80 years without adverse effects, according to a Nuclear Energy Institute white paper that noted, “Today’s nuclear power plants are safe regardless of their age.” The country’s nuclear plants have invested approximately $23 billion in maintenance and upgrades over the past three years. Source: Forbes
School choice: Of about 610 schools closing the education achievement gap, 174 are charters schools, according to the first Education Equality Index, which ranks the largest 100 cities within the 35 states for which data is available, and identifies up to 10 schools in each city that are closing or have closed the achievement gap.
Pros and cons: Foundation Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum examined the Legislature’s proposal for transit funding in Atlanta. He calls it a step in the right direction.
Derailing rail: Virtually all the actual increase in rail commuting has occurred in the “legacy cities” of New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Chicago and Philadelphia, Joel Kotkin writes in Newgeography.com. These are older cities built around well-defined cores that were developed mostly before the automobile.
About those millennials: Millennials – that generation born between 1982 and 2004 – embrace telecommuting and flexible schedules more than previous generations did, in large part due to concerns about finding balance between work and family life, according to a new study by Ernst and Young.
ACA at 6: The results of the Affordable Care Act, which turned 6 this week, include low enrollment, higher costs, higher premiums, higher deductibles, lost doctors and lost plans, according to an article in MarketWatch. Read the Foundation’s article at ZPolitics.
This month in the archives: In March 2006, the Foundation published, “The Hidden Cost of Planning.” It noted, “While everyone in a region benefits from housing affordability, government-subsidized or mandated affordable housing benefits only a few, and costs everyone else in the form of taxes or higher housing prices so that builders can fulfill their mandates.”
Status of legislation: Click on the link for the latest roundup on the status of legislation related to Foundation policy proposals, including criminal justice, health care, education, regulation and tax reform.
Foundation in the News: Benita Dodd wrote an op-ed on ObamaCare at age 6 for Zpolitics. Kelly McCutchen was quoted by the Heartlander Magazine on Georgia’s failure to repeal its certificate of need law and by the Heartland Institute on Georgia’s tuition tax credit scholarship program. Bloomberg News quoted Kelly on Georgia’s tax reform effort. The Sentinel of Kennesaw State University published Benita Dodd’s article on Sunshine Week.
Have a blessed Easter 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.)