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Commonsense Recommendations for SPLOST Reform in Georgia

By Ron Sifen and Benita M. Dodd Georgia’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is an optional 1 percent county sales tax used to fund local capital projects for a county and participating municipalities. Thirty-two years after lawmakers passed the SPLOST law, lessons learned prove the SPLOST is sorely in need of some updates. Implemented in just 12 counties in the first year it was established (1985) and 15 more the next year, today the tax is imposed in all counties except DeKalb, Fulton and Muscogee, according to the state Department of Revenue. (DeKalb and Fulton have a MARTA tax; all three have an education SPLOST). The tax, which can last up to six years, is routinely renewed;… View Article

Friday Facts: September 8, 2017

It’s Friday! A river of headlights from vehicles crawling northbound on I-75 in Downtown Atlanta Thursday at noon highlights the danger Hurricane Irma poses as residents of Florida and Georgia headed inland in search of refuge and accommodation. On a personal note Hurricane Irma’s path remains uncertain, but residents in Florida, Georgia and the Southeast coast are evacuating or bracing for its impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with those in its path. We were in San Antonio, Texas, last week for the State Policy Network’s 25th annual conference. That city was spared any effects from Hurricane Harvey but, as you know from media reports, many lives, homes and possessions were lost closer to the Gulf Coast. Georgians generously stepped… View Article

Foundation Joins Coalition Urging Pro-Growth Tax Reform

GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release September 6, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Joins Coalition Urging Congress to Pass Pro-Growth Tax Reform  Atlanta – The Georgia Public Policy Foundation joined a coalition of more than 20 leading state and national organizations calling on Congress to seize the opportunity to deliver transformative tax reform. In an open letter hand-delivered today to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the coalition highlighted the failures of the U.S. tax code and urged Congress to make the tax code simpler, fairer and with lower rates to help revitalize the nation’s middle class. “The outdated U.S. tax code, last overhauled more than three decades ago, has rendered… View Article

Friday Facts: September 1, 2017

It’s Friday! Events: Early Bird Registration is now open for the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, October 13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. The theme for the daylong event is “Wisdom, Justice, Transformation,” with a focus on health care and education. Early Bird Registration is $100; register here. Details to follow! View previous events here. “I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation.  For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work.  As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature.  We have very little staff.… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen In rural Georgia and across the country, the uncertain future and closure of emergency rooms and hospitals are all too common. A primary factor is the long-term impact of a federal law that requires hospital emergency departments to treat and stabilize all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. This law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), made the nation’s ERs the default health care provider for the uninsured. The federal government doesn’t cover the full cost of providing this care, however, making EMTALA a massive unfunded federal mandate. Imagine addressing other social problems like this: Eliminate hunger by requiring all restaurants to serve hungry people regardless of their ability to pay the bill. Combat… View Article

Friday Facts: August 25, 2017

It’s Friday!  Events: Early Bird Registration is now open for the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, October 13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. The theme for the daylong event is “Wisdom, Justice, Transformation,” with a focus on health care and education. Early Bird Registration is $100; register here. Details to follow! View previous events here.  Quotes of note “When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly.” – George Washington (1795) “Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in… View Article

Friday Facts: August 18, 2017

It’s Friday!  2015 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum panel discussion. Mark your calendar: The 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum will take place October 13 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. Details to follow!  Quotes of note “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” – Thomas Jefferson (1808) “We hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them.” – Charles Caleb Colton (1820) “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.… View Article

Free Speech Must Persevere on Campus

By Eric Wearne As a new college year begins, consider these quotes: “I have been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for me to be [here].” “We confronted an angry mob as we tried to exit the building. … One thug grabbed me by the hair and another shoved me in a different direction.” “You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting!” A scene from the civil rights era? From a character in a Solzhenitsyn novel, sentenced to a Soviet Gulag camp? From a dissident in Cuba held political prisoner by Castro? None of the above. These recent statements involve college professors who experienced protests or, in some cases, assaults by students on their campuses. Such… View Article

Friday Facts: August 11, 2017

It’s Friday!  Quotes of note  “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” – John Marshall (1819) “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every tax payer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.” – John F. View Article

States Must Seize Opportunity for Health Care Reform

By Kelly McCutchen With the failure of the federal government to address this nation’s health care crisis, the job now falls to the states. Fortunately for the states, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides them broad authority to restructure federal funding and regulations through the underutilized State Innovation Waiver. Georgia is well-positioned to seize this opportunity and serve as a model to show the rest of the nation the way forward on health care reform. “Crisis” is an overused word, but it describes the situation for many Georgia families. Premiums for policies on the Georgia ACA exchange have more than doubled over the past four years, and they could increase by up to 40 percent next year. In exchange for… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes