Category: Government Reform

Legislators Should Heed the Forgotten Man

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN A host of tax bills are up for consideration as the Georgia General Assembly enters its final week: tax breaks for the music industry, tax breaks for big construction projects, tax breaks on jet fuel, taxes on Internet purchases, taxes on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, and cuts in the individual income tax rate. Some proposed tax breaks are designed to keep businesses in our state. But what about the forgotten man who expands his business without playing the game of searching for handouts, pretending he or she might move out of state without an “incentive? On the campaign trail, politicians often criticize tax breaks for special interests and the use of the… View Article

Sunshine Week a Reminder Transparency’s Still Clouded

By Benita M. Dodd March 12-18 is Sunshine Week. Launched in 2005, the initiative promotes open government and pushes back against “excessive official secrecy.” Sunshine Week is promoted by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Events of the past year reinforce that the media themselves need self-examination regarding the dappled coverage of events. Fortunately, enough outlets and citizen journalists exist and compete to the extent that citizens receive the news one way or another and, “Truth will out.” Not so at the General Assembly as the 40-day session reaches its 2017 halfway point. Few of Georgia’s 10 million residents reach the State Capitol to follow along in person. Happily for many,… 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
By Ross Coker If you or your family have ever taken a vacation to a locale rich in history and lore such as Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, you might have enjoyed the spooky entertainment of a ghost tour. In the event that you did, one of the first things on your mind during the tour was likely, “I hope my tour guide is licensed by the city,” right? Probably not. Nevertheless, tour guiding in Savannah was one of many professions that was kept behind the curtain of a licensing requirement in the state of Georgia – until recently, when a group of tour guides partnered with the non-profit law firm the Institute for Justice to challenge the requirement on a… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Opportunity is knocking as the door opens on Georgia’s 2017-18 legislative session. In a state with a Republican governor since 2002 and GOP majorities in both chambers since 2004, it’s time for legislators to welcome policy reforms that can improve income, opportunity and well-being. In 2014, the Legislature capped the personal income tax rate at 6 percent. That’s a start. But legislators ignored a provision in the 2015 Transportation Funding Act (HB 170) to create a “Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure” that would “during the 2016 legislative session cause to be introduced in the House of Representatives one or more bills or resolutions relating to tax reform.” Reforming Georgia’s individual income tax rate was… View Article

Lessons and Opportunities from The Election

By Kelly McCutchen It’s not always as good, or bad, as it seems. The same can be said of this year’s national election. Conservatives and liberals should temper their enthusiasm and despair; this election was not an endorsement of any ideology. It was a revolt, as Peggy Noonan so aptly puts it, by the “unprotected” against the “protected.” At its core were middle-class Americans, who had done everything they were told to do, but were frustrated by rising taxes and higher education and health care costs as their wages remained stagnant. They had lost hope in the future, for their children and in the American Dream. They felt disgust at the ruling political class and their crony friends and corrupt… View Article

Tempers in a Teacup Dilute Women’s Issues

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD The headline in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week sums up stormy presidential politics: “2016 race devolves into ugly fight over treatment of women.” Many believe the battle over which presidential candidate is more endearing to women is the crux of the women’s vote. It isn’t. Not every woman is a “victim” seeking protection and a “safe place.” Not even most of them. There are working mothers, single mothers, stay-at-home moms and women who chose not to have children. They are wives, single women, retirees and senior citizens, welfare recipients, homemakers, home-based workers, professionals and business owners. Just like the lifestyles women choose or prefer, their policy issues run the gamut. They believe in limited… View Article

How Government Can Speed Broadband Access

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Internet access is foundational in today’s economy. Lack of access can grind business to a halt and hobble critical services including health care, transportation and education. As a result, forward-thinking telecommunication policy is a priority in making Georgia a great place to live and economically competitive. Georgia still has work to do to increase access to broadband but the news is good: Statewide, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports show, 87 percent of Georgians have access to wired broadband connections with speeds of 25 megabits per second (mbps) or higher and 93 percent have access to speeds of 10 mbps or higher. A whopping 99 percent of Georgia’s population has access to wireless broadband of 10… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award takes place on November 11 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and is keynoted by John Stossel. Through the years, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has presented the prestigious Freedom Award to a notable Georgian who has exemplified the principles of private enterprise and personal integrity. Previous recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Flowers Industries chairman emeritus William Flowers, the former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell, Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy; Deen Day Smith, chair of the Cecil B. Day Investment Company; former Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller; former Southern Company president Bill Dahlberg, Medal of Honor recipient General Raymond… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Pension Reform

Principles: Any reforms to pensions should consider the long-term solvency of a plan and protect the already promised benefits for employees already in the system. The benefits in a public employee retirement system should be sustainable, secure and affordable: Provide retirement security for all members (current and future) and retirees Manage and mitigate taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and market risk Reduce long-term costs for employers or taxpayers as well as employees Stabilize contribution rates Ensure the ability to recruit 21st-century employees Improve governance & transparency The best solutions emerge from collaborative efforts involving a broad cross-section of stakeholders in a process that examines flaws in a pension system, explores and analyzes all possible methods of reform,… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes