Category: Issues

Eyes In the Sky Over Sandy Springs?

The use of drones has exploded over the last several years, with the (mostly) flying robots so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget that even as recently 10 years ago, no consumer-grade versions of the devices were even available. (See the Foundation’s March 2017 article on the subject). The implications of the topic are coming to bear in a very real way for those in metro Atlanta, with a proposal to bring law enforcement drones to Sandy Springs. As reported in a city staff memo and by reporternewspapers.net, the city is considering the use of a new and ruggedly-equipped drone device for purposes including “Photographing and video recording crime scenes … [a]ssisting in reconnaissance for high risk… View Article
What promise do metro Atlanta’s express toll lanes hold for congestion relief, mobility, quality of life and affordability? In a nutshell: NewGeography.com describes the need for “affordable proximity” – enabling a growing regional population to live, work, shop and play without breaking the bank on housing or transportation costs. We need to acknowledge that in “decentralized, post-WW2 Sunbelt cities built around the car, commuter rail solutions don’t work and an alternative is needed, especially as we see autonomous vehicles on the horizon.” The solution lies in managed express lanes (MaX lanes), which leverage existing infrastructure, writes Tory Gattis of The Center for Opportunity Urbanism. He addresses this approach in his new report, “A Next-Generation Mobility Strategy for Affordable Proximity View Article
By Robert Krol Robert Krol President Trump and Congress seem poised to boost spending on highways, bridges, and mass transit. Yet if this increase in spending ends up being funneled through the existing transportation funding system, the results will be disappointing. Instead of increasing Washington’s influence over infrastructure spending, it makes more sense to leave most funding responsibilities with the states. That approach would result in better project selection and a superior transportation infrastructure. As things stand, Washington plays a significant role in highway funding. The 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act contains five formula-based surface transportation funding programs that will cost about $45 billion per year from 2016 to 2020. Although this and previous transportation funding bills have increased… View Article
The topic of civil asset forfeiture, the practice of law enforcement seizing and holding property even if the owner is never charged with or convicted of a crime, has made the news recently both in Georgia and nationally. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation focuses frequently on civil asset forfeiture. Many other policy organizations and grassroots groups, both conservative and liberal, have decried the practice. Regrettably, its status remains the same after the most recent Georgia legislative session. While the last reforms Georgia made were meaningful, the result has been somewhat underwhelming. There should be transparency through increased reporting.  Unfortunately, there is no real accountability for missing information and some confusion in the reporting process itself, as the Foundation reported View Article

Education is Key to Redeeming Lives in Prison

By Gerard Robinson and Van Jones Every year, more than 650,000 men and women leave prison and return home to communities across America. They are often released with little more than some spare change, a bus ticket and a criminal record that bars access to some of their most basic rights and privileges. Facing deep social stigma, many returning citizens feel as though they have left the grips of a physical prison only to find themselves engulfed in a new, social prison. It is tragic but not surprising that 50-75 percent of them end up incarcerated again within five years. In today’s knowledge economy, higher education is one of the first rungs on the ladder to economic freedom and social… View Article

Global Brightening and Hazy Predictions

By Harold Brown Global warming, simplified: Burning fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide into the air, trapping energy radiated from the globe. The earth is made warmer because this energy is prevented from escaping into outer space. But then there are air pollutants that reduce the radiant energy from the sun that reaches the earth. Reducing those pollutants that cool the earth would be expected to warm it. The main cooling pollutant is sulfur, mostly as sulfur dioxide (SO2), from burning wood and fossil fuels. Sulfur and other pollutants mixed in the air are referred to as aerosols, and they reflect the sun’s rays away from the earth. Water, as vapor and droplets in clouds, is a major component of these… View Article
Rising health care costs are squeezing middle-class families, as this chart published by the Wall Street Journal based on Brookings Institution analysis clearly shows. These families could care less about AHCA vs ACA, they just want some relief. The good news is that a new analysis shows that implementing the reforms in the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today will lower premiums across the board. The analysis by the Milliman actuarial firm analyzed the impact of changing the 3:1 age rating limit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the 5:1 ratio in the AHCA bill and implementing an Invisible Risk-Sharing Program (also known as an Invisible High-Risk Pool), which is… View Article

Education Reform Requires More Than Tweaks

By Benita M. Dodd It’s no secret that a 2017 legislative session begun with a smorgasbord of meaningful education reforms disintegrated into crumbs for Georgia families struggling to find viable alternatives when public schools fail to meet their children’s needs. This week, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law some education legislation that survived anti-choice sentiment under the Gold Dome. Last year, voters defeated a constitutional amendment for a statewide “Opportunity School District” covering Georgia’s chronically failing schools. It fell victim to a well-funded opposition campaign. Foes themed their opposition around Georgians’ fierce loyalty to local control, claiming it would take money and control from the local school board and superintendent. Lost in the kerfuffle, unfortunately, was that providing parental… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Every year around Earth Day (April 22), people everywhere are harshly reminded just how “unnatural” environmentalists consider humans.  Humans, they argue, are against nature, and nature is being destroyed by humans. It’s unfortunate. Creating this dichotomy of humans against nature not only confuses the environmental narrative, it claims a separation that doesn’t exist and disregards enough relationships to make it preposterous. A striking recent example is the oft-repeated claim that species are threatened with extinction by human activities. National Geographic, the Public Broadcasting System, the World Wildlife Foundation and others have repeated the theme that “Current rates of extinction are 1,000 to 10,000 times the background (before humans) rate… View Article

Return Insurance Regulation to the States

By Ralph T. Hudgens Much of the impasse in Washington regarding health care reform relates to health insurance regulation and mandates. There is a very simple solution: Return the power to regulate insurance back to the states, where it rightly belongs. Certainly, Congress should be able to find common ground in the desire to lower costs, improve quality and empower states. Much of the talk in recent months has been about how difficult it will be to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The focus of the conversation should instead be on the consequences to the American people if Congress does not repeal this failed overhaul of the health insurance industry. When the ACA was first implemented, as the Commissioner… View Article

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U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson more quotes