February 22: Register by MONDAY to join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Institute for Justice for, “Bottleneckers,” Wednesday’s Leadership Breakfast and Book Forum with Dick Carpenter, co-author of, “Bottleneckers: Gaming the Government for Power and Private Profit.” Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. C-SPAN BookTV will be recording this event. Information and registration here.
March 23-24: The Heartland Institute hosts the 12th International Conference on Climate Change at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. The theme of the two-day conference is “Resetting U.S. Climate Policy.”
Quotes of note
“[U]nlike much of the Left, most conservatives handle despair like mature adults. Most obviously, we didn’t riot. In fact, in America, rioting – not to mention shutting down highways and airports, taking over college offices and protesting at peoples’ homes – is a monopoly of the Left.” – Dennis Prager
“In pushing for more taxes, politicians either don’t understand or won’t admit that every tax ― no matter on whom it is levied ― is ultimately paid by people.” – Antony Davies, James R. Harrigan
“Once people get a subsidy, they’ll fight to keep it – fight hard.” – John Stossel
Energy and environment
Major ruling: A special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that Florida has failed to prove the need for new limits on Georgia’s water consumption. Florida, Georgia and Alabama have been involved in a decades-long feud over allocation of waters from the Apalachicola-Flint-Chattahoochee river basin. The Foundation wrote recently on the issue.
Carbon tax: Former Secretaries of State Jim Baker and George Shultz have been “snookered” into championing a carbon tax, writes Stephen Moore. “So let’s get this straight: We are going to tax the producers of the economy and then give the money to people who don’t produce, and somehow this isn’t going to negatively affect the economy. If that makes sense, then why not adopt a 100 percent tax on production and then redistribute the money to everyone?”
A healthy choice: A Foundation news release welcomed the Senate confirmation of Tom Price as President Trump’s new Secretary of Health and Human Services, noting, “The Foundation has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Dr. Price and we look forward to continuing to work toward state-focused health care options that are affordable to Georgia’s taxpayers and consumers.”
We asked, you shared: As health care reforms are considered at the federal government, the Foundation asked Georgians to share their experiences with the Affordable Care Act. Here are some of their stories. Send yours to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going down: The Affordable Care Act is “in a death spiral,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a video interview with The Wall Street Journal this week. He said the markets are nearing failure as premiums climb and healthier individuals drop out and predicted that more insurers will drop out of the market for 2018.
Teacher quality: According to a 2016 study of teacher ratings in 19 states, no state gave more than 4 percent of teachers an unsatisfactory rating. In its 10th annual public survey of education trends, however, Education Next found respondents rate 15 percent of teachers as unsatisfactory, on average, while teachers considered 10 percent of their colleagues unsatisfactory.
Flat tax: A bill introduced by Ways and Means Chairman Jay Powell replaces Georgia’s six personal income tax brackets (1-6 percent) with a flat tax rate of 5.4 percent. This would drop Georgia below North Carolina’s flat tax of 5.499 percent. Georgia’s working poor would be protected through an earned income tax credit.
School Choice: The Senate Education Committee plans a hearing for Sen. Hunter Hill’s Education Savings Account bill next week. Georgia would join five states with ESAs: Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arizona and Nevada. More than two-thirds of Georgians support ESAs and the strong support cuts across political party lines.
The issues: Legislators have copies of the Foundation’s Guide to the Issues, focusing on education, transportation, health care, taxes, criminal justice and more. Click here to read the Foundation’s proposals online. Questions? Email email@example.com.
Anti-auto? The love affair with cars continues. Americans bought 17.6 million new vehicles in 2016, breaking the previous annual sales record of 17.5 million set in 2015 and a record high for the seventh year in a row. Source: CNN
Mobility I: Atlanta is among the nation’s metro areas with the least transit access to jobs, according to NewGeography.com. Public transit is competitive with automobile travel in the six transit legacy cities, but only because travel times are far slower than the national average due to high congestion and greater dependence on transit, which tends to be slower than cars overall.
Mobility II: Future transportation systems will seamlessly and dynamically match riders with the best transit modes and routes, Rahul Kumar writes in American City & County. “In the era of the on-demand economy and the proliferation of ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber offering to be ‘everyone’s private driver,’ cities and public transit companies must explore a model where supply responds to the demand.”
This month in the archives: In February 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Video Franchising and the Costly Lesson of Branch Banking.” It noted, “As data, voice and video converge, the old lines separating services and industries are blurring and disappearing. So should the regulations.” Soon after, Georgia eliminated the requirement that companies seek individual, local franchises.
Foundation in the news: A Marietta Daily Journal “Around Town column quoted Benita Dodd opposing across-the-board pay raises for Cobb County employees.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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When I served four terms in the state Senate, one of the few places where you could go to always and get concrete information about real solutions was the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. That hasn’t changed. [The Foundation] is really right up there at the top of the state think tanks, so you should be very proud of the work that they are doing!