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Legislators Should Heed the Forgotten Man

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN A host of tax bills are up for consideration as the Georgia General Assembly enters its final week: tax breaks for the music industry, tax breaks for big construction projects, tax breaks on jet fuel, taxes on Internet purchases, taxes on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, and cuts in the individual income tax rate. Some proposed tax breaks are designed to keep businesses in our state. But what about the forgotten man who expands his business without playing the game of searching for handouts, pretending he or she might move out of state without an “incentive? On the campaign trail, politicians often criticize tax breaks for special interests and the use of the… View Article
This testimony on Direct Primary Care was prepared for delivery to the Georgia House Insurance Committee on March 20, 2017. The legislation, S.B. 50, was presented by Senator Hunter Hill (Watch from the 53-minute mark at https://livestream.com/accounts/19771805/events/6811883/videos/152225554) By Benita M. Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation  The Georgia Public Policy Foundation understands the challenges lawmakers face in extending access to health care for the impoverished as well as those living in Georgia’s rural areas. Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill presented legislation on Direct Primary Care to the House Insurance Committee on Monday, March 20. We believe one way to address this is through an exciting, well tested approach: Direct Primary Care, which provides access, quality and control and… View Article

Friday Facts: March 17, 2017

It’s Friday!  Traffic is picking up in the reversible I-75 South Metro Express Toll lanes. This photograph was taken southbound, out of Metro Atlanta, on the afternoon of February 24. Given the condition the general purpose lanes, Friday afternoon traffic won’t be this sparse for much longer! Events March 23: The deadline is Tuesday to sign up for the Foundation’s March Leadership Breakfast, “Capitol Insight,” with keynote speaker Lynn Westmoreland, who retired recently after six terms as a Congressman from Georgia. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Information and registration here. Quotes of note “One single object … [will merit] the endless gratitude of the society: that of restraining the judges from usurping legislation.” – Thomas Jefferson, View Article

How States Can Break the Health Care Logjam

EMTALA, a massive federal unfunded mandate, has made the nation’s emergency rooms the default health care provider for the uninsured. By Kelly McCutchen In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, January 22 a tornado, one of 40 over two days in Georgia, ripped through the tiny South Georgia town of Adel. Seven people died; the wounded were treated at the local hospital five minutes away. Just three days earlier, that local hospital had announced it would close its emergency room – the only ER in Cook County – at the end of February. Cook Medical Center is hemorrhaging about $2.6 million a year, mostly due to the emergency room. Tift Regional Medical Center plans to offer expanded hours at a non-emergency… View Article
By Ross Coker The Georgia Public Policy Foundation and other organizations committed to intelligent criminal justice reform in Georgia, have for some time pointed out Georgia’s astronomical rates of parole and probation, the highest in the nation by far. Georgia has 4,565 adults on probation per 100,000 adults, whereas that number falls to 2,200 for the next state on the list, Rhode Island. Parole and probation join the larger problem in criminal justice reform efforts known as “collateral consequences:” things beyond fines and prison sentences such as restrictions on civic participation that prevent ex-offenders from living the same lives as those who have not, even if they desire to return to a law-abiding, contributory role in society. The justification… View Article

Friday Facts: March 10, 2017

It’s Friday!  Condolences  Dudley Rochelle Carter, who served as a board member for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, passed away on March 4 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s syndrome. We were honored to have her counsel and support and offer our sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.  This screenshot captured this week shows 14 online viewers of the live streaming video at a House committee hearing as Larry Williams, president of the Technology Association of Georgia, testifies. Senate committee hearings are not streamed, as Benita Dodd points out in today’s commentary on Sunshine Week. Joe Rogers Sr., the founder of Waffle House, died March 3 at age 97. The son of a railway crane… View Article

Sunshine Week a Reminder Transparency’s Still Clouded

By Benita M. Dodd March 12-18 is Sunshine Week. Launched in 2005, the initiative promotes open government and pushes back against “excessive official secrecy.” Sunshine Week is promoted by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Events of the past year reinforce that the media themselves need self-examination regarding the dappled coverage of events. Fortunately, enough outlets and citizen journalists exist and compete to the extent that citizens receive the news one way or another and, “Truth will out.” Not so at the General Assembly as the 40-day session reaches its 2017 halfway point. Few of Georgia’s 10 million residents reach the State Capitol to follow along in person. Happily for many,… View Article
By Ross Coker The popularity of consumer-grade multi-rotor or quadcopter devices, the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly referred to as “drones,” has skyrocketed over the last several years. While previously a niche product for aviation and remote controlled vehicle (“RC”) enthusiasts, the buzzing contraption is now commonplace at weddings, beaches and scenic overlooks across the United States. Consumer demand for and use of drones has, however, outpaced regulation. The Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations for similar products have heretofore contemplated mostly hobby-grade RC planes, loud, expensive, and uncommon devices that also mostly lacked the ability to record pictures and video. (See “A Brief History of Drones” at droneblog.com.) Current drone technology, by contrast, allows for sometimes shockingly effective (and potentially invasive)… View Article

Friday Facts: March 3, 2017

It’s Friday!  Have you visited our social media sites lately? The Foundation has 3,185 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,719 followers at twitter.com/gppf. Follow us on Instagram, too!  Events March 23: Register now to attend the Foundation’s March Leadership Breakfast, “Capitol Insight,” with keynote speaker Lynn Westmoreland, who retired recently after six terms as a Congressman from Georgia. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Information and registration here. Quotes of note “All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect,… View Article

Giving Perspective to Scholarship Programs

By Benjamin Scafidi Benjamin Scafidi A recent opinion piece in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked, “Are vouchers a failure?” Any answer requires examining the best evidence on the topic and placing research results into a reasonable policy context. First, the best evidence: Eighteen “gold-standard” studies followed students who were randomly offered a voucher to attend a private school and compared their outcomes with students who wanted a voucher, but were randomly denied one. Fourteen of these studies reported positive effects from vouchers for some or all students. Two studies found no real effects, and two studies – both from Louisiana – found negative effects. Interestingly, the Louisiana voucher program is the most regulated voucher program in the country, with… View Article

Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle more quotes