Category: Government Reform

2019: Continue a Course of Bold Policies

By Kyle Wingfield A new governor, a new lieutenant governor, a host of new committee chairs – there are numerous reasons the 2019 legislative session is full of intrigue. Add to them Georgia’s growing political competitiveness, the possibility of a national recession sooner rather than later, and some truly important challenges, and there should be plenty of urgency, too. Start with health care. The federal government is stuck: Obamacare clearly isn’t working, but Congress has proved unable to repeal or even improve it. The siren song of Medicaid expansion is back for another chorus, but that’s the wrong answer. It costs too much, would shift a quarter-million Georgians off their private insurance plans, delivers less access to care than beneficiaries… View Article
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of January 25, 2019, published an op-ed by Kyle Wingfield on what should be the Georgia General Assembly’s focus in 2019. The op-ed, “Ga. should continue its bold, thoughtful course,” is accessible online on the newspaper’s website here and is published in full below.  Ga. should continue its bold, thoughtful course By Kyle Wingfield A new governor, a new lieutenant governor, a host of new committee chairs – there are numerous reasons the 2019 legislative session is full of intrigue. Add to them Georgia’s growing political competitiveness, the possibility of a national recession sooner rather than later, and some truly important challenges, and there should be plenty of urgency, too. Start with health care. The federal government… View Article

Make Civility and Civics a Winning Combo in 2019

By Benita M. Dodd A good man passed away on January 2nd. Bob Hanner, 73, had served 38 years in the Georgia General Assembly, transitioning from South Georgia Democrat to South Georgia Republican before leaving the Legislature in 2013. Most people have forgotten why he left. A census-based reapportionment, coupled with a declining Southwest Georgia population, meant Hanner, representative from the 148th District (Parrott), and Gerald Greene, who had served the 149th District (Cuthbert) for 30 years, would have to face each other in the newly drawn 151st House District. “We talked about it – knew it was coming – and I told Bob I wouldn’t run if he decided to,” Greene told The Albany Herald in 2012. “Of course,… View Article

2018 Victories: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

By Kyle Wingfield As 2018 dashes away like Donner and Blitzen, many Georgians will remember it as a year of major political transition. But 2018 also brought some substantial improvements to Georgians’ lives through better policy, much of it championed by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The year began with a bit of a hangover from 2017: The tax reform that Congress passed late last year, though beneficial for your federal tax bill, threatened to raise your state taxes if unaddressed. Thankfully, legislators didn’t drop the ball. They set in motion a series of changes that will shield more of Georgians’ income from the state income tax and, for the first time in our state’s history, lower the top marginal… View Article

Opportunity Lost Now that Congress is Divided

By Ryan Young A divided Congress probably means the status quo will reign on regulation. This is a mixed bag from a free-market perspective. President Trump made some positive reforms upon taking office, but they were via executive order, and can be easily overturned by a future president – Congress needs to pass legislation to give reforms any staying power. Barring a lame-duck miracle, that won’t happen now. Republicans blew a rare opportunity. President Trump’s executive order reforms include a one-in-two-out rule for new regulations, and a requirement for agencies to add zero net regulatory costs – a de facto regulatory budget, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute has been advocating for more than 20 years. Agencies are not… View Article

Georgia’s Economic Freedom: Mostly Better

GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release October 31, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Georgia’s Economic Freedom: Mostly Better Atlanta — Georgia’s national ranking in the Economic Freedom of North America is unchanged over last year, at No. 7 in the 2018 report released by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and Canada’s Fraser Institute. This year, Florida overtook New Hampshire to achieve the No. 1 spot for overall economic freedom among all the states. They are followed in rank by Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, Virginia and Georgia, respectively. For the fourth year in a row, New York was ranked least free (50th), followed by Kentucky (49th), West Virginia (48th), California (47th)… View Article
Jeffrey H. Dorfman Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and sustained major, hurricane-force winds as it entered southwest Georgia’s agricultural heartland. It appears the losses to Georgia agriculture alone will exceed $2 billion. This unprecedented hit may require similarly unprecedented responses from the private sector and government. As of this writing, I estimate Georgia cotton growers suffered $550 million in losses. Worse, Georgia pecan growers suffered $560 million in lost crop, damaged and destroyed trees, and lost future income while waiting for replanted orchards to mature. Georgia vegetable farmers also suffered heavy losses, perhaps over $400 million. Topping even that, Georgia timber owners may have lost $1 billion, with 250,000 acres completely lost and 750,000 acres with varying… View Article
By Evgenia Sidorova  The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia alarmed legislators and stakeholders when it requested over $588 million in increased contributions in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions combined, largely the result of missed actuarial assumptions. Given such a steep rise, the relatively small $25 million budget increase requested for 2019 may have signaled to some that things might be turning around for the troubled pension plan. But this would be mistaken, according to a new report published by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation that finds the Georgia TRS has several shortcomings that could further degrade its long-run solvency. The pension system currently has $24.8 billion in unfunded pension liabilities,… View Article

Georgia’s Teachers Retirement System

Georgia TRS: Historic Solvency Analysis and Prospects for The Future  By Jen Sidorova and Anil Niraula Project Directors: Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation Kyle Wingfield, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) surprised many during the 2017 legislative session by requesting an additional $223.9 million in annual funding, then did so again in 2018, requiring an additional $364.9 million in contributions. The nearly $600 million in annual increases to teacher pension funding have been necessary in large part because of growing unfunded liabilities – colloquially known as pension debt – which were reported at $23.6 billion in 2016. Since then the debt has grown to $24.8 billion, but in contrast with previous years TRS requested a relatively… View Article
By Harold Brown A year ago this month, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Apportioning blame and credit for the island’s recovery is almost beside the point. That has been complicated not only by the physical, economic and social destruction caused by Maria but by economic and demographic problems beginning long before the hurricane hit. Puerto Rico is one of the few places in the world where population is in a steep decline (see chart). For 2017, the CIA World Factbook lists it second from the bottom out of 234 countries for population growth. According to the Census, the population increased until 2004, then declined, reaching the lowest population in three decades last year. The… View Article

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