Then and Now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, 62.1 percent of Georgia high school students graduated on time. In 2015, even as standards toughened, it was 78.8 percent. Source: Georgia Department of Education
Quotes of Note
“The consequences of an unbridled regulatory regime are not always obvious. There is no ‘regulation compliance’ item on your dinner bill or supermarket receipt. However, the compliance costs of federal regulations totaled nearly $2 trillion in 2012, according to a study commissioned by National Association of Manufacturers. These regulations and the compliance required are not simply the expected costs of doing business. They are passed on to people who struggle to pay their electric bill, to family farms burdened by the EPA’s war on water, and to small businesses trying to provide retirement savings help for employees.” – U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio
No response: According to WalletHub, 62 percent of calls to the Internal Revenue Service went unanswered in 2015. If one of those was your call, perhaps you can feel reassured you have just 0.8 percent chance of being audited by the IRS.
Candidates’ take: What could your tax burden be under the next president? The Tax Foundation’s interactive calculator reveals the change in your taxes under each candidate’s plan. Try it!
Who pays? Just 54.7 percent of American households pay federal individual income taxes. Of the 77.5 million households, about half pay none because they have no taxable income and the other half get enough tax breaks to erase their tax liability, according to the Tax Policy Center. Source: MarketWatch
Simplify vs. codify: Instead of campaigning to simplify the tax code, some congressional lawmakers are plotting to complicate the process with legislation that would require tax preparers to undergo licensing and background checks. Source: Watchdog.org
High school highs: The Gwinnett County School of Mathematics, Science and Technology is the best high school in Georgia and No. 27 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. Columbus High School, at No. 80 in the nation, was the only other Georgia school in the top 100. Georgia ranked 21 in the nation: Of its 443 eligible high schools, 99 made the Best High Schools rankings.
Open-door policy: Landlords who have a blanket ban on renting to people with criminal records could be charged with violating the federal Fair Housing Act, according to 10 pages of guidance issued this month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Shortsighted on eye care: Writing about optometrists’ efforts to block an innovative online vision care service, the website Techdirt noted, “Blocking new telehealth applications like this one will only serve to raise prices, reduce the ability of low-income or rural individuals to access care and stifle future smartphone-driven innovations.” Georgia legislators voted in 2016 to outlaw the service.
John Stossel has lung cancer and he’s not happy in the hospital. Health care is not patient-centered, as Stossel writes, and “Customer service is sclerotic because hospitals are largely socialist bureaucracies. Instead of answering to consumers, which forces businesses to be nimble, hospitals report to government, lawyers and insurance companies.” We wish him a speedy recovery.
This month in the archives: In April 2006, the Foundation published, “Securing U.S. Borders Must Come First.” It noted, “Before we address any other issues dealing with illegal immigration, we must secure this nation’s borders. Not only is that a matter of law, it is a matter of national security.”
Foundation in the News: Allongeorgia.com published Benita Dodd’s column on transit innovation.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “It’s Earth Day: Hold On To Your Wallets!” by Benita Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Find the Foundation on social media at Facebook, twitter.com/gppf and Instagram.
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.)