Today’s the day! We’re at the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel with state and national experts discussing taxes, health care and education in Georgia. If you’re not with us and 150 of our friends … Here is what you’re missing!
Quotes of note
“A strangulation of the world by exploding, well-camouflaged bureaucracies is one of the great threats to mankind.” – Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Price winner
“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin (1722)
“[R]eliance on competitive capitalism has been the only way that countries have been able to reduce poverty and continue to grow over long periods of time.” – Gary Becker, Nobel Prize-winning economist
Energy and environment
Water wars: The end to Georgia’s decades-long water war with Florida may be near after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments “in due course” this term in the dispute over Georgia’s water consumption. Florida alleges Georgia’s water use in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin is damaging its oyster industry. In a huge victory for Georgia, a Special Master appointed by the Supreme Court to hear the dispute disagreed in February that a new cap on Georgia’s water consumption would solve the problem.
Clean Power Plan: Kudos to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, for announcing his plan to dismantle the Obama-era “Clean Power Plan” rule. As the Foundation pointed out in 2015, “This nation has never been sold a bigger, costlier bill of goods than the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (climate action plan) to reduce carbon emissions, which the administration has fervently tried to relabel as carbon ‘pollution.’”
Docu-melodrama: A new analysis by the Heartland Institute of National Geographic’s documentary on the coal industry’s environmental impact (“From the Ashes”) points out it touts the fact 195 nations signed the Paris Climate Accord yet is silent about how only the United States and other industrialized nations are required to actually reduce their CO2 emissions. China and India, the world’s first and third largest CO2 emitters, and more than 150 other nations don’t have to begin reducing CO2 emissions until 2030.
Shortchanged: Students attending Pataula Charter Academy, a public State Commission Charter School in southwest Georgia, are funded anywhere from $1,800-$6,400 less per student than the school districts where they live, according to Kylie Holley, the superintendent of Pataula Charter Academy, who discusses the inequities in Georgia’s charter school funding law in an article for the Georgia Charter Schools Association.
Criminal justice reform
Right on crime: Kudos to U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia for leading federal criminal justice reform efforts by sponsoring the Prison Reform and Redemption Act, which focuses resources in federal prisons to be able to avoid prisoners reoffending upon release.
Savannah port’s boost: Georgia has begun the process of dredging the Savannah River to accommodate bigger ships coming through the widened Panama Canal. The Wall Street Journal reports shipping lines are sending more U.S.-bound cargoes through the Panama Canal instead of the Suez Canal, and Savannah – the East Coast’s No. 2 container gateway after New York – expects to handle around 10 percent more cargo this year, “double the average growth rate in previous years.”
Not Prime: About 50 North American cities are competing to be the site of Amazon’s second headquarter campus, dubbed HQ2. Foundation Senior Fellow Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of economics at the University of Georgia, warns in a column in Forbes, “the winner of HQ2 will almost surely be a financial loser.” The mayor of San Jose, Calif., agrees: “[M]y city won’t be offering incentives to Amazon. Why? Because they are a bad deal for taxpayers. With many subsidies, the jobs a company brings to an area don’t generate revenues commensurate with public expenditures.”
Taxes and spending
Tax reform: The Foundation joined a coalition of more than 30 state and national conservative and tax policy organizations applauding the Unified Tax Reform Framework as a promising vision for pro-growth tax reform. In a letter hand-delivered this week to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the coalition expressed support for tax reform legislation that will raise wages and take-home pay, incentivize domestic investment and level the playing field for American workers and job creators.
This month in the archives: In October 15 years ago the Foundation published, “Alcohol Distribution Laws Bottle Up Options for Consumers and Retailers.” It noted, “There is good evidence, however, to suggest that the mechanics of current alcohol regulations in Georgia and other states have not kept pace with the changing character and growth of the marketplace.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Feeding on Problems: From World Hunger to Abundance,” by Harold Brown.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.