Quotes of note
“From the first shots of the American Revolution until this day, what has distinguished American Patriots then and now is their willingness to sacrifice all in defense of Liberty — for themselves and their posterity. It’s an unfortunate truth today, however, that too many Americans know too little of such devotion and sacrifice. This week, we observe Veterans Day, first designated Armistice Day marking the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Allied Commander of World War II, signed legislation formally changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.” – Mark Alexander
“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.” – Charles M. Province, U.S. Army veteran
“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” – Mark Twain
A good choice: Charter schools are increasing graduation rates at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), according to an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. The article also gave kudos to Georgia State University, which “takes Pell Grant-eligible kids and graduates them at double the rate of everyone else. The kids are coming out of school faster and with significantly less debt … and they have good jobs – relevant jobs to industry.”
Merit pay: A new union contract including a pay raise for teachers who get high marks on their job evaluations was approved this week by 68 percent of teachers in Florida’s Miami-Dade school district. Under the agreement with the United Teachers of Dade, teachers rated “highly effective” will get a 2.67 percent pay bump and those rated “effective” will get a 2 percent raise. Source: Miami Herald
Waivers: The administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, told state Medicaid directors this week that the federal government would be receptive to allowing work requirements for non-disabled adults covered by Medicaid.
Better care: What if you could reduce health care spending by 25 percent and improve outcomes? A new crop of “high performance” health care innovators could make this happen, according to health care analyst Brian Klepper. (Many of these ideas were discussed at our 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.) Source: Employee Benefit News
OPM: After five bills to expand Medicaid were vetoed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, voters in Maine this week overwhelmingly backed expansion. According to Maine Ethics Commission data, expansion proponents spent nearly $1.9 million compared with about $358,000 spent by opponents. The fiscal note on expansion: It will require an annual state appropriation of nearly $54.5 million and a federal appropriation of $525 million a year. Source: Bangor Daily News
Jobs and money: A comprehensive analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act shows that in the long run it would result in 3.9 percent GDP growth, create 975,000 new full-time equivalent jobs, and 3.1 percent higher wages. For the average middle-income family in the U.S., that means higher after-tax income of about $2,598. Source: Tax Foundation
Stop digging: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s budget chief estimates lawmakers next year will need to add at least $351 million to the more than $1.5 billion the government already puts into the teacher pension system. And she told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution that figure might grow. (The Foundation plans to publish a paper soon highlighting a way out of this fiscal mess.)
Criminal justice reform
Asset forfeiture: Nearly 90 percent of Texans believe government should secure a criminal conviction before seizing property, according to a recent poll conducted by Right On Crime. That’s a reasonable expectation, says Randy Peterson, a retired police officer. Source: The Hill
This month in the archives: In November 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Priorities should drive transportation policy.” It noted, “It’s paramount, if Georgians are to be persuaded to believe in transportation policy again, that legislators demand the information to make informed decisions.”
Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Business Chronicle quoted Kelly McCutchen on tax reform in Georgia: “McCutchen said the push for tax reform in Congress makes this a good time to pursue a tax cut at the state level. ‘Georgia’s income tax code is closely linked to the federal code, so the anticipated federal reforms should increase Georgia taxable income,’ he said. ‘[That would] give Georgia the opportunity to reduce its income tax rate for the first time since 1937.’”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Despite the Hype, Changes in Sea Level Thin as a Dime” by Harold Brown.
Have a great weekend! Take a moment to honor our nation’s military veterans on November 11!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.