The registration deadline is Tuesday (April 17) for “End of Discussion,” the Foundation’s April 19 noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta. This book forum features conservative journalist and commentator Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson, Political Editor of Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor, discussing their (recently updated) book, “End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free!” Registration is $60 and includes parking and the cost of the book. Authors will sign books. Information/registration here.
Quotes of note
“Americans are generous people and we will always help those who need assistance, but long-term dependency on government programs has never been part of the American Dream.” – Sonny Perdue
“The fact is, every dollar the politicians take back to Washington means less spending power for average Americans and more opportunity for the Federal bureaucracy to waste money.” – Ronald Reagan
“China’s share of high tech exports has risen from about 5 percent in 1999 to about 25 percent at present. America’s has plummeted from about 20 percent to about 7 percent. What this means in practical terms is that America can’t build a military aircraft without Chinese chips. That’s a national security issue.” – David P. Goldman
Transparency: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced a website called Atlanta’s Open Checkbook will launch in a couple of months, providing a user-friendly way for the public to track the scandal-plagued city’s spending, contracts, salaries and business with vendors. The state of Georgia operates Open Georgia, with information and key documents about revenue, spending, salaries and audits. Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle
’Tis the season: April 17 is the tax filing deadline this year. According to the Internal Revenue Service, 87 million tax returns – 93 percent of filings – are submitted electronically. About a million more taxpayers e-filed their own returns as of March 31. Even so, 55 percent of submissions were done by tax professionals, a decline of just 300,000 in the same period. Source: Accounting Today
Hidden taxes: Tax Day gets a lot of attention, but John Stossel says that attention is misleading, because the April 17 deadline is only for income tax, just a fraction of the taxes that Americans pay. Watch “The Great American Tax Rip-off.”
Welfare to work: President Trump issued an Executive Order on welfare reforms this week, noting that in 2017, the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) spent more than $700 billion on low-income assistance. It calls for facilitating job opportunities for low-income citizens, strengthening work requirements for beneficiaries, and promoting local solutions and “strong social networks as a way of sustainably escaping poverty (including through work and marriage).” He also orders agencies to consolidate duplicative programs and establish metrics to gauge programs’ success. Source: White House
Dignity of work: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed new limits on welfare programs into law this week, committing state and federal taxpayers to nearly $80 million in spending to draw more people into the labor force. One law will require parents with children between age 6 and 18 to work or get job training or lose food benefits after three months. Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
NAEP I: This month, the U.S. Department of Education released the latest results of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which told us how fourth- and eighth-grade students are faring nationally, in every state, and in most big cities in math and reading. Florida made more progress than any other state in the nation in 2017, as the only state that showed improvement in all four NAEP assessments.
NAEP II: Georgia is in the bottom half of the nation in NAEP rankings but in the top 10-15 states – and on the upswing – when scores are adjusted for demographic differences, according to the Urban Institute. Accounting for factors such as race, ethnicity, English language learner status and family income, Georgia ranks much higher: sixth in the nation for both eighth-grade subjects, ninth in fourth-grade reading and 13th in fourth-grade math. Georgia’s adjusted ranking has grown steadily, and by double digits, over the past two decades.
Closing doors: Six-year-old Graduation Achievement Charter High School will close in June after learning that State Charter Schools Commission staff members will not recommend the school’s charter be renewed. The school serves 2,100 at-risk high schoolers, some expelled from their home schools, both online and at locations in Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This month in the archives: In April 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Valdosta Should Think Twice Before Taking Telecom Gamble.” It noted, “Local communities face a steep learning curve on the technical and financial particulars of the telecom industry, and smaller governments are further hindered by traditional bureaucratic inefficiencies and funding constraints.” Today, according to Broadbandnow.com, Valdosta has 14 internet providers, with five of those offering residential service.
Foundation in the news: The Citizen published Benita Dodd’s commentary, “Legislative Winners and Losers.” Curbed Atlanta cited Benita Dodd’s criticism of the Atlanta Streetcar on WSB-TV. Kyle Wingfield’s column on charter school policy was published in The Savannah Morning News, The Brunswick News and Dalton Daily Citizen-News. Kyle was declared a winner on WAGA-TV’s “The Georgia Gang” for becoming Foundation president.
Have a great weekend.
Kyle Wingfield 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 www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Find the Foundation on social media at Facebook, twitter.com/gppf and Instagram.
As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.