Category: Issues

A Celebration in Education: 25 Years of Charters

By Benita M. Dodd The Georgia Public Policy Foundation helped establish Tech High, a STEM charter high school in Atlanta Public Schools. The school was successful academically but succumbed to the bureaucratic burdens of the school district. Twenty-five years ago this month, City Academy High School opened in Saint Paul, Minn., the first charter school in the nation after Minnesota’s state law authorized the opening of eight “results-oriented, student-centered public schools.” As it celebrates its silver anniversary, City Academy can take credit for inspiring 165 charter schools with nearly 54,000 students in Minnesota today. But wait, there’s more! By the 2016-17 school year, there were more than 6,900 charter schools operating across the nation, with more than 3.1 million students,… View Article

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
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 “The outdated U.S. tax code, last overhauled more than three decades ago, has rendered… View Article
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

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
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 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday edition of August 6, 2017, published an op-ed by Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen on state-based solutions to health care. The op-ed is reprinted in full below; access it online on the newspaper’s website here. Opinion: Ga. should seek flexibility waiver to help meet care needs By Kelly McCutchen The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday edition of August 6, 2017, published an op-ed by Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen on state-based solution to health care. The op-ed is reprinted in full below; access it online on the newspaper’s website here. With the failure of the federal government to address this nation’s health care crisis, the job now falls to the states. Fortunately… View Article

Transit Needs a Ticket to Transparency

At its second meeting August 2 at MARTA headquarters, the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding heard from MARTA CEO Keith Parker. By Benita M. Dodd In March 2017, the Georgia House of Representatives voted to establish a Georgia House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding that sunsets by December 2019. The resolution cites the need to study developing a “unified regional governance structure;” “creating efficiency and coordination among providers;” “regional, integrated and comprehensive mass transportation,” and, “an analysis of potential methods of funding.” The commission is charged with undertaking “a study of the conditions, needs, issues and problems mentioned above or related thereto and recommend any action or legislation.” The commission met in June and August 2.… View Article
study by the Mineta Transportation Institute should make policymakers, lawmakers and taxpayers question why streetcar projects are being funded through transportation agencies and grants. The institute examined streetcars in Little Rock, Ark., Memphis, Tenn., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., and Tampa, Fla. “[T]here does seem to be a real disconnect between enthusiasm for the streetcar and its transportation performance,” the authors found. “In most cities, streetcar ridership is very low and compares quite unfavorably with the ridership on a local bus route operating in the same general area. A strict transportation assessment would tend to regard a streetcar that had lower ridership than a typical bus route as a misuse of scarce transportation resources. “But few of the informants tended… View Article

Reading is Fundamental to American Liberty

By Gerard Robinson “Reading is fundamental” was a popular slogan when I was an elementary student in Los Angeles during the 1970s. Today, parents, teachers and tutors stress the importance of literacy to public, private, home and virtual school students. Reading is not only still fundamental; it is even more profoundly so than it was 40 years ago. Why? Our knowledge economy, economic self-sufficiency, and military soundness require a highly literate population. To comprehend just how important reading is to American liberty, it is worth a look backward to see what our founding generation believed about literacy. The Founders’ decision to dissolve their bonds with England was a declaration for the liberty to learn as much as it was a… View Article

It’s so often a lack of information that keeps us from getting involved. The Foundation is doing for the public what many could not do for themselves. Anytime that we’re given the truth, people can make good decisions.

Deen Day Smith, Chairman of the Board, Cecil B. Day Investment Company more quotes