It’s Friday: Happy Constitution Day AND Citizenship Day!
Just nine more days of Early Bird Rate for the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award on November 11.
The keynote speaker is John Stossel; the Freedom Award recipient is Dr. Michael H. Mescon, “The Pied Piper of Private Enterprise.” Cobb Galleria Performing Arts Centre Ballroom. $125 per person Early Bird Rate through September 25. Click here for information; reserve your seat here. (Checks accepted, too!)
September 21: Health Connect South 2016, an annual event that connects more than 400 health leaders, innovators and students, takes place at the Georgia Aquarium. Georgia Public Policy Foundation members receive a discounted admission price. Click here.
Quotes of Note
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” – Abraham Lincoln
“The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution.” – Ronald Reagan
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” – Samuel Adams
“The Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” – John Marshall
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince all had singles that hit the top of the Billboard music charts.
Overestimating: Under President Obama, regulatory agencies have issued more than 500 major regulations and plan to issue at least 40 more before Obama’s term ends. Yet the White House claims “unprecedented” actions to reduce existing regulations “achieved more cost savings than any prior administration” – $37 billion over five years. Susan Dudley points out, however, that regulatory costs far outweigh phantom cost savings. Source: Forbes.com
Fighting words: Foes and fans of Governor Deal’s statewide Opportunity School District for chronically failing schools have issued their first campaign ads. Opponents complain local control will be lost; supporters note 68,000 children are trapped in failing schools. Read Benita Dodd’s Forum article on the proposal here.
Out with the old: On November 8, about $200 billion in public transportation projects will be voted on in 31 communities, counties and states, including $2.5 billion in Atlanta, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Voters should consider whether proposals embrace new technologies for communities, including autonomous vehicles and ride-share options.
Popularity of tolls: Claims that “nearly every high-profile tolling project has failed,” are far from true, according to Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation. He notes there has not been a single failure of an express toll lanes project; “In fact, a number of these projects are having to raise their peak-period tolls above the levels in their traffic and revenue forecasts in order to maintain the uncongested traffic flow promised to their customers.” Those include express toll lanes in Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle.
Over the top: Honolulu’s elevated rail transit project began as a $2.7 billion 34-mile line. Then it became a $5.3 billion, 20-mile line. Now it looks likely to cost at least $7 billion for 15 miles. An op-ed in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on the half-built, over-budget project proposes converting the guideway into dedicated lanes for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that could continue travel on the surface to the originally planned destinations.
Cause and effect? Employer health insurance expenses continued to rise by relatively low amounts this year, aided by moderate increases in total medical spending but also by workers taking a greater share of the costs, Kaiser Health News reports. Out-of-pocket costs shifted to employees in the form of higher deductibles and copayments, resulting in substantially lower use of medical services, one study suggests.
Higher and higher: Double-digit health premium increases come to Georgia in 2017, equating to a weighted increase of 33 percent. Humana (27 percent market share) will raise rates more than 67 percent. BCBS of Georgia (39 percent market share) raised its rate hike request to 21 percent after Aetna pulled out of Georgia. Celtic/Ambetter, the Peach State Health Plan (21 percent market share), is raising its rates by nearly 14 percent. Source: Fool.com
This month in the archives: In September 10 years ago the Foundation published, “Clean Water Markets: A Policy Option for Georgia.” It noted, “Water quality trading is not yet established in Georgia. In the coming years, however, new TMDLs will tighten water quality requirements and increase costs for wastewater dischargers in the state. More than half of the state’s rivers and streams that have been assessed only partially support or do not support water quality standards, and the costs of meeting those standards in Georgia will be high.”
Foundation in the news: Kelly McCutchen’s commentary, “How Government Can Speed Broadband Access,” was published in The Rome News-Tribune, Catoosa County News, Walker County Messenger, Cherokee County Herald, Polk County Standard Journal, Calhoun Times, Northwest Georgia News and Columbus Ledger Enquirer. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly in an article on Georgia’s budget reserves. The Dalton Daily Citizen and Watchdog.org quoted Kelly in articles on rural broadband access. The Newnan Times-Herald published Benita Dodd’s Forum commentary on the proposed Opportunity School District for Georgia.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Georgia Works: A Growing Impact on The Dignity of Work,” by Ross Coker.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.