Category: Issues

Gwinnett Has Time to Do Transit Right

By Benita M. Dodd and Dave Emanuel Advocates of transit expansion in Gwinnett County blame timing for the failure of the March 19 transit referendum, which voters rejected 54-46 percent. The proponents, who say their well-funded advocacy plan got off to a late start and the special election date hurt turnout, vow they will be back again and again until transit expansion is approved. Make no mistake: Changing demographics and the money behind advocates practically guarantee transit expansion will come to pass in the growing county. The questions are how it will work and what the county needs. On that, referendum opponents won the day, despite a lack of organized opposition or funding for their effort. Timing did indeed play… View Article

Gwinnett Transit Vote a Mixed Bag

By Benita Dodd Before Gwinnett County voters even decide whether their transit plan leaves the station, it will cost taxpayers almost $770,000. That’s the cost of holding the election on March 19 instead of during last November’s general election. Such special elections are notorious for low turnout, bringing out the diehards on either side of an issue. They’re a waste of taxpayer money, a way for politicians to limit opposing voices, and they deserve to be outlawed. At the polls, Gwinnett’s voters face an especially vague referendum question – another practice long overdue for legislative change: “Gwinnett County has executed a contract for the provision of transit services, dated as of August 2, 2018. Shall this contract be approved? YES… View Article

Give Georgia’s Students Choices, Not Excuses

By Kyle Wingfield In almost a decade of writing about school choice, I’ve heard every excuse imaginable to oppose giving students and families educational options. I’ve heard critics say school choice is only for “the rich.” Not true – families of means already have options, thanks to their ability to pay private school tuition or move into a neighborhood with good public schools; school choice is about extending that liberty to those without means. I’ve heard critics say school choice hurts students who remain in public schools. In fact, as a 2016 review of the 33 empirical studies on the topic reported, “31 find that choice improves academic outcomes at public schools. One of the remaining studies finds that choice… View Article
Maureen Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog on AJC.com published, “Opinion: New study suggests vouchers may help Georgia public schools,” an op-ed by Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, on March 3, 2019. The op-ed is published below. Access the op-ed online at https://www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/opinion-new-study-suggests-vouchers-may-help-georgia-public-schools/hnoULPdg9z0XZ2Zgq8HGTN/?. Opinion: New study suggests vouchers may help Georgia public schools Kyle Wingfield, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion columnist, is president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute. In this guest column, Wingfield says legislation in the Georgia House and Senate allowing tax dollars to go toward private school tuition may help public education’s bottom line. Senate Bill 173 passed out of committee Thursday in a 9-3… View Article

Baby Steps in Teacher Pension Reform

By Kyle Wingfield They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The implication is that the first step won’t be the last. That’s the right way to think about House Bill 109, which is intended to address the increasingly worrisome debt for Georgia’s teacher pension system. It’s an initial step toward securing the retirement income promised to our public-school teachers past and present, but it isn’t nearly enough to take the system as far as it needs to go. The bill authored by Rep. Tommy Benton, a Republican from Jefferson and retired teacher, would make a few changes to the pensions of new teachers starting July 1. They wouldn’t be eligible for a pension until… View Article
In this Research & Commentary published February 26, 2019, Matthew Glans of the Heartland Institute examines the revived debate in Georgia over the state’s controversial certificate of need program. The commentary is published in full below and can be accessed online here. Georgia  Should Address CON Reform By Matthew Glans Georgia is one of 35 states that institute certificate of need (CON) laws. First passed in the 1960s to deter increasing health care costs, CON laws were supposed to limit duplication and promote health care consolidation. In essence, CON programs require health care providers to receive state approval to increase facilities and services. However, CON laws can also restrict existing providers from expanding services or new providers from entering… View Article
The Economics of Building a Voucher or Educational Savings Account Program in Georgia By Jeffrey Dorfman Executive Summary The economics of vouchers and educational savings accounts (ESAs, also known as educational scholarship accounts) are central to their political success because attracting sufficient political support for such educational choice programs depends at least partially on persuading opponents that these programs will not deprive schools of needed funding for the remaining students. The economic concept at the heart of this dispute is marginal cost. Marginal cost, in the education context, is the additional cost incurred from educating one more student (or the amount expenditures can be reduced if educating one fewer student). If vouchers or ESAs remove funding from a school’s… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Housing needs, trends and designs change constantly. Through the years, homebuilders have learned to meet the needs, wants and pocketbooks of homebuyers while innovating and adapting to meet changing standards for safety, land use and environmental protection. Now, however, elected officials are changing that dynamic. Local governments are stifling innovation, mandating aesthetics and materials, restricting designs and layouts, all while infringing upon the rights of private property owners. This week (February 20), the Georgia House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee narrowly approved a bill that would prohibit local governments from imposing “architectural ordinances” on new home construction. It must make its way through the Legislature. Consider the enormous differences among the Sears kit home, Craftsman bungalow,… View Article
Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, was invited to provide testimony to the Georgia House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on February 20, 2019, regarding architectural ordinances. His prepared testimony is published below.   GEORGIA HOUSE AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMITTEE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2019 KYLE WINGFIELD, PRESIDENT, GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION   To Chairman McCall and members of the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee: Thank you for the invitation to provide testimony today about the issues addressed by House Bill 302. My name is Kyle Wingfield, and I’m the president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) research institute based in Atlanta. The Foundation does not endorse or oppose specific… View Article
Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, accepted an invitation to testify before the Georgia Senate Health and Human Services Committee on February 19, 2019, regarding health-care waivers as senators considered SB 106.  His prepared testimony is printed in full below; view his presentation to the committee here, starting at the 11:45 mark. GEORGIA SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2019 KYLE WINGFIELD, PRESIDENT, GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION Chairman Watson and members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee: Thank you for the invitation and opportunity to provide testimony about healthcare waivers. My name is Kyle Wingfield, and I’m the president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3)… View Article

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes