Category: Issues

By Harold Brown Harold Brown  Global warming (climate change) is not just a scientific subject but also a technical-social-political scramble. Several recent episodes illustrate this; just one has been widely reported. First, most recent and receiving the greatest media attention: Just days after the appointment of Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency came the reports on the court-ordered release this week of thousands of emails between Pruitt and “fossil fuel companies like Koch Industries and Devon Energy” when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general. The Associated Press, noting Pruitt’s office contacted the lobbyist for his utility (AEP) after his power went out, reported the emails reveal “cozy ties” between Pruitt “and those that profit… View Article

Testimony on Education Savings Accounts

Senate Education and Youth Committee Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Testimony of Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation I would like to focus my testimony on the impact of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) on public schools. Regarding student achievement, research shows that school choice improves outcomes modestly for public school students. As of last May, 33 empirical studies had been published that examined the effect of school choice on students’ academic outcomes in public schools. Of those, 31 found choice improved public schools. One found no visible effect. One found a negative effect.[1] Regarding fiscal impact, being fiscally conservative, we certainly appreciate any concern about the cost to taxpayers of any new state programs. Fortunately, any negative… View Article
House Ways and Means Tax Reform Subcommittee Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Testimony of Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation  I would like to focus on four positive aspects of HB 329. Pro-Growth: An almost universally held principle of good tax reform is the goal of broadening the tax base and lowering tax rates. This bill does both. Simplification: This bill simplifies the Georgia Tax Code by collapsing six tax brackets into one flat rate. Economic Competitiveness: Lowering Georgia’s top marginal tax rate to 5.4 percent moves Georgia’s rate below that of seven states, including our neighbor North Carolina, which recently reduced its top tax rate of 7.75 percent to a flat rate of 499 percent.… View Article
NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release February 10, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Welcomes Tom Price as HHS Secretary Atlanta – Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, had the following response to today’s Senate confirmation and swearing in of Tom Price as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “As a Georgia legislator, as a U.S. Congressman and as a physician, Dr. Price has championed a patient-first approach that holds enormous promise for beleaguered Americans struggling to afford and access health coverage,” McCutchen said. “The Foundation has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Dr. Price and we look forward to continuing to work toward state-focused health care options that are affordable… View Article
By Jenn Hatfield When President Donald Trump was sworn into office on January 20, the clock started ticking on the 282 promises he made on the campaign trail. While his every move has garnered significant media attention, Trump has also pledged to make what happens in Washington matter less. In his inaugural address, he declared, “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.” So it’s only fitting to give a bit more attention to what governors are saying – especially on K-12 education, where Trump and Secretary of Education have both promised to respect state autonomy and make good on the states-rights spirit of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As a… View Article

Justice Day 2017

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation participated in the annual Justice Day Initiative in Atlanta on February 2, 2017, at which hundreds of attendees from numerous organizations aligned around the common cause of criminal justice reform. The event was inspiring in uniting groups with diverse backgrounds and stories all in one place as they discussed the best ways to push meaningful reform and educate lawmakers about what needs to be done for effective justice in Georgia. Speakers included Clayton County’s Judge Steve Teske, Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, who shared stories of successes that have already taken place in Georgia’s campaign for reform. He and others admonished that nobody should become complacent, as there is plenty more… View Article
Georgia Public Policy Foundation News Release For Immediate Release February 7, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Welcomes DeVos as Secretary of Education Atlanta – Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, had the following response to today’s Senate confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.  “The vote for Betsy DeVos is a vote for America’s children. “Mrs. DeVos has exercised her constitutional right to put her money where her mouth is – into school choice – and we’re excited to see her promote her preference to give families options for their children’s education. “Competition is a rising tide that lifts all boats; there’s especially no reason for an… View Article
Matthew Standsberry of the American Legislative Exchange Council wrote about pre-arrest diversion programs in Fulton County, Ga., in a February 3, 2017, article on ALEC’s website. The article is reprinted below; access it at ALEC at www.alec.org/article/georgia-examines-a-pre-arrest-diversion-program/. Georgia Examines a Pre-Arrest Diversion Program By Matthew Standsberry Politicians and citizens from both sides of the aisle have been pushing for criminal justice reform for years. In 2008, a study was released by the Pew Center on the States which identified that more than 2.3 million adults are currently incarcerated in the U.S. in some capacity — amounting to nearly 1 in 100 adults in the United States. In Georgia, this problem is even more severe as one in 13 adults View Article
Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield’s column in the Sunday edition on February 5, 2017 focuses on the Foundation’s new study by Ben Scafidi, “Balancing the Books in Public Education,” which points out that the Georgia Department of Education website underreports public education spending. Wingfield’s column can be accessed online here (subscription required); it is reprinted below in its entirety. Why school spending has soared, but teachers’ salaries haven’t By Kyle Wingfield The fault line dividing public opinion about school choice and other education reforms is spending. Proponents say we spend plenty today, with mediocre results. Opponents say the results would improve if we spent more. The latter argument largely boils down to paying teachers better, hiring more of… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd On Saturday, January 28, the reversible express toll lanes on I-75 south of Atlanta opened. The lanes’ direction was northbound, as signs on I-75 South showed. In a milestone event that occurred quietly on Saturday, January 28 Georgia entered the ranks of the few, the proud, the innovative states as a 12-mile stretch of reversible toll lanes opened on I-75 south of Atlanta. Just four other states boast reversible toll lanes. A little history: Georgia has known tolls since the 19th century (at least). Few metro commuters realize the toll origins of the roads they travel: Johnson Ferry and Paces Ferry (crossing the Chattahoochee) and Bell’s Ferry (crossing the Little River in Cherokee County), to name… 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