Category: Issues

By Paul Blair The first two nuclear units at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, were completed in 1987 and 1989; two more currently under construction will be the first new units built in the nation in the last three decades. Over the past 18 months, President Trump has taken great strides to fulfill a number of major campaign promises. One major promise was the commitment to help communities harmed by the decline of coal and nuclear energy. To that end, the president recently directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to prevent retiring coal and nuclear plants from shutting down prematurely. Shortly afterward, a leaked policy document from the National Security Council outlined a number of policy tools that the Department of Energy… View Article

Governor Announces BRT Funding for SR 400

On January Governor Nathan Deal announced $100 million in General Obligation bonds for Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure, part of the SR 400 Express Lanes project. The plan includes four BRT interchanges as part of a $1.8 billion project for express toll lanes up the highway. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has long promoted BRT as a cost-effective alternative to rail. In the Foundation’s Agenda 2002: Guide to the Issues, for example, the Transportation section noted: Traditional train-type transit can be very effective in the downtown ares of certain cities. London, Paris, Tokyo and New York City fit this description. In these densely pupulated cities, rail-based transit provides a high-capacity, convenient transit solution that makes up for its… View Article
The average  tuition tax-credit scholarship was worth about $3,450 in 2017, not even a third of the per-pupil funding of about $11,650 for public schools. By Kyle Wingfield A summertime surprise is roiling the Georgia GOP’s gubernatorial primary. A defeated candidate recently released a recording in which Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he supported a school-choice bill he deemed “bad policy,” merely to prevent a big campaign donation to a rival candidate. Now Cagle, who faces Secretary of State Brian Kemp in next month’s runoff, is on the defensive. Whatever one makes of the politics of it all, was this bill truly “bad” policy? Not in the least. House Bill 217 raised the cap on the state’s popular tuition tax-credit… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Dr. Roger Lotson (left) looks on as his cadets at the Georgia Youth ChalleNGe Academy at Fort Stewart, near Savannah, share their experiences with visitors. Eighty percent of Georgia’s students graduate from high school. What happens to the one in five who don’t? Michael Boggs, now a Georgia Supreme Court Justice, was co-chairman of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform when he remarked that he counted just 34 high school graduates among the first 6,000 criminal defendants he dealt with in felony criminal court in six rural counties. Twenty-five years ago, concerned about a report that declared high school dropouts the greatest domestic threat to national security, U.S. Sens. Sam Nunn of Georgia and John… View Article

Council’s Misdemeanor Bail Reform Proposals

A summary of the misdemeanor bail reform findings and recommendations from the February 2018 Report of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform (pages 25-39). By Sophia Strickland The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform’s 2018 report delivered to Gov. Nathan Deal in February focused on pretrial justice, especially within misdemeanor bail practices. According to the report: An increasing amount of research is showing the negative consequences of a money-based bail system. Those people who cannot afford bail and therefore incarcerated pretrial could lose their jobs or go into further financial debt or lose their jobs, and then cannot support their families or pay the court-imposed fines or obligations. In fact, studies show that people who are released on bail,… View Article
By Sophia Strickland Reports on the United States’ rapidly increasing incarcerated population have sparked a discussion over bail reform. However, a segment that may not receive as much attention in this area is the pretrial, incarcerated rural population, which has contributed disproportionately to the increasing jailed population in the United States, according to a new report by Right On Crime. Nationwide, the jailed population increased three times its original size between 1970 and 2014  but sevenfold in small counties in the same period. The increase in this rural pretrial jailed group can be partly attributed to an economic incentive for local jails to house other jurisdictions’ inmates for remuneration and the growing opioid crisis with increased related drug arrests… View Article
By Dave Emanuel Dave Emanuel As the hue and cry for expanded public transit in metro Atlanta reaches a crescendo, many options are being discussed, but chatter about extending heavy rail predominates. You have to wonder why. The only thing lacking in the proposals to expand heavy rail is a specification to use steam locomotives. Add that, and you have the perfect 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem. An outmoded form of transportation at best, heavy rail (defined as rail service elevated, subterranean or otherwise separated from street traffic) is expensive to build, operate and maintain, and inefficient in its use of resources. Consider that a single MARTA passenger car weighs 89,000 pounds and accommodates 64 passengers. Consider, further, that… View Article
By Ryan Streeter Ryan Streeter Do you know why most people are poor, and what would make them better off? Mauricio Miller is pretty sure you do not. In “The Alternative: Most of What You Believe About Poverty Is Wrong,” he argues that people involved in anti-poverty work today regularly do more harm than good. In fact, he fires staffers within his organization who simply “help” poor families. Low-income families, Miller says, need to be aided to solve their own problems, not temporarily rescued with outside resources. “Helping” people may sound charitable, but it keeps the helper in control, makes the beneficiary dependent and only offers short-term boosts. In Miller’s view, it doesn’t matter if someone is dependent on government… View Article

Embrace Student Loan Debt, Don’t Erase It

By Jeffrey Dorfman Jeffrey Dorfman The total of all student loan debt just hit $1.5 trillion, so prepare for a slew of stories telling you how student loan debt is out-of-control and we must reform the program to avoid a crisis. Ignore the hype. The reality is that most borrowers are using student loans responsibly, graduate with a perfectly reasonable amount of debt, and are making a smart investment. Given the excellent return on investment from college educations, why is society acting like student loan debt is a problem? Instead, we should be glad so many people are acting in a way that will make the country better off in the long run. Since the start of the 2007-2009… View Article
The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Sunday edition on May 12, 2018, quoted Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd in a feature article by Shelia M. Poole and Michael E. Kanell on a proposal to reform public housing rent. The article, “Proposed HUD rent reforms have locals worrying, wondering,” can be accessed online here and is reprinted in full below. Proposed HUD rent reforms have locals worrying, wondering By Shelia M. Poole and Michael E. Kanell As the door to his home opens, Tony Caldwell, 58, shifts his wheelchair slightly to accommodate his guests. The former delivery driver for a concession machine company lives in Westminster Apartments, a 32-unit, generic-looking, two-floor apartment complex, fenced off from the surrounding Piedmont Park area… View Article

The Foundation’s positions are well thought out and are often ahead of their time.

State Senator Jack Hill more quotes