Author: Kelly McCutchen

Clearing the Path for Competency-Based Learning

We now have the technology to enable students to learn at their own pace with instruction delivered digitally that is customized to each child's learning style. In a competency-based approach, each child moves from one standard to another only when they have mastered the current standard. This type of approach can "dramatically increase graduation rates for students that are falling off the track toward a diploma," according to "Clearing the Path: Creating Innovation Space for Serving Over-Age, Under-Credited Students in Competency-Based Pathways," a study published by iNACOL. Unfortunately, state policies often stand in the way. Seat-time requirements and other one-size-fits-all regulations limit the flexibility needed to address each child's needs. Georgia should immediately focus on removing these… View Article

State Spending Limit Proposed

One of the biggest challenges of Georgia's proposed tax reform is avoiding 1) a tax increase or 2) a shortfall in taxes when your rainy day fund is almost empty. Taxpayers are rightly skeptical that elected officials will reduce taxes if revenues come in higher than expected. Of course, one of the reasons we are in this mess is we spent too much money during the good times. Looking at total funds, spending increased by $4 billion from 2006 to 2008. From 2009 to 2011, spending still increased $650 million. The solution? A reasonable spending limit that would limit the high spending during good times and prevent dramatic cuts during recessions. This would also provide taxpayers a sense of security… View Article

Rome Editorial: Prison and Mental Health Reforms Desperately Needed

Good op-ed in Sunday's Rome News-Tribune: Flying over prison walls From the Rome News-Tribune, Jan. 30, 2011 — EASIER SAID than done is a saying that state leaders need to start becoming familiar with very quickly indeed. Nonetheless, it shows considerable bravery on the part of Georgia’s new governor, Nathan Deal, to allow almost the first words out of his mouth (in his inaugural address) to be: prison reform. And he’s far from alone in assigning this topic some overdue priority for attention. Indeed, there is a loud and clear message being sent to a traditionally “hang ’em high” electorate that in times such as these the state can no longer afford a rope. That hardly means Georgia plans… View Article

AJC: State could become a national model

As printed in Sunday's AJC: Atlanta Forward / Another View: State could become a national model By Kelly McCutchen Some may quibble with details, and adjustments will certainly be made, but enacting the Tax Council’s pro-growth tax reforms will make Georgia a national model and could not come at a better time. The proposals would create a true flat tax on income and modestly shift revenues to a broader retail sales tax. Both income and consumption would be taxed at a low rate of 4 percent and the tax code would be greatly simplified. Targeted tax credits would protect low-income senior citizens and families. Gov. Nathan Deal’s balanced budget requires no tax increase, clearing the way for the tax… View Article

A Federal Spending Freeze is Not Enough

According to the US Debt Clock web site, our unfunded liabilities are now well over $100 trillion, which dwarfs the "official" national debt of $14 trillion. President Obama called for a spending freeze last night, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution touched on some of the reaction this morning. This past election should have sent a clear message that we want a smaller government. We’ve been fiscally irresponsible for too long, we have built up a debt that threatens to crush our economic growth and national security and simply frreezing spending isn't enough. In many ways, Georgia would be better off if the federal government reduced spending. We are a net loser in transportation funding, getting back much less than we… View Article

Repeal Vote Should Start Focus on New Ideas

To be intellectually honest, when you support a tax cut, you also need to be prepared to reduce spending. Along these same lines, the House needs to stand ready to debate new health care reform ideas after they vote today to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Representatives Paul Ryan and Georgia's Tom Price have demonstrated strong leadership in this respect.  For some good ideas of where to start, here is an excellent article by our senior fellow, John Goodman. He discusses ten structural flaws in the current law along with market-oriented solutions:               1. An Impossible Mandate Problem: The ACA requires individuals to buy a health insurance plan whose cost will grow at… View Article

Wall Street Journal: Georgia Tax Plan is the Anti-Illinois

The editorial page of today's Wall Street Journal praised Georgia's proposed tax reform plan as "The Anti-Illinois." It praised the plan for following "the first principle of a sound and fair tax system: Apply a low rate to a broad base" and encouraged the state to move toward reducing income tax rates to zero to compete with Florida and Texas. Excerpts of the editorial are below: The genius of American federalism is that states can choose to walk off a policy cliff—or not. Illinois has just raised taxes, but Georgia may be moving in the opposite direction by cutting taxes to make the state a more attractive destination for workers and business. A bipartisan tax commission chartered last year by… View Article

Misuse of Fees Weakens Trust in Government

And we wonder why trust in government is on the decline. James Salzer has a great article in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution exposing how the state has been diverting fee revenues to balance the budget. These are the types of actions that erode the public's confidence in government. Choosing to extend the tolls on Georgia 400 without much public debate was another recent example. Once the economy recovers, these fee revenues should be returned and steps taken to protect these funds going forward. … View Article

Rhode Island Leads the Way in Medicaid Reform

In 2009, the State of Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive block grant funding for Medicaid. Since then, they have saved money without reducing eligibility. In face, this is one reason why they had a large budget surplus in FY 2010. Rhode Island is successfully showing that more money is not the solution; comprehensive reform and freedom from onerous federal mandates work. Their Global Medicaid Waiver is seen as a model for state Medicaid reform and could be replicated by each state. Read more in the Galen Institute's 11-page summary.… View Article

Georgia Tech Ranked 4th Best Public College Investment in the Nation

10 Best Public Colleges Based on ROI Methodology   A new study by the website estimated the rate of return on investment in higher education for people who attended a wide array of U.S. colleges and universities. Of course, most in-state students at Georgia Tech (and our other research universities) are HOPE scholars, making the return on investment even better.… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is a driving force for market-based solutions to policy challenges. The work done by this outstanding organization is making a real impact on the future of Georgia. I personally consider the Foundation a primary source for policy ideas. All Georgians are better off because the Foundation is helping lead the critical policy debates in our state.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers more quotes