Category: Government Reform

By Benita M. Dodd With politics and the weather in unusual and untimely states of flux in 2017, the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum was undoubtedly one of the most difficult to organize since the Georgia Public Policy Foundation established the event in 2010. Happily, the annual Forum produced some remarkable, practical solutions to policy challenges in Georgia. About 150 attendees attended the daylong session October 13 in Atlanta, learning from speakers about tax, health care and education reforms specific to Georgia. The morning keynote speaker, chief economist Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council, shared his optimism about the GOP framework proposed for federal tax reform, noting that it has been more than 30 years since President Reagan… View Article

Feeding on Problems: From World Hunger to Abundance

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Remember when India was a poster-country for overpopulation and starvation? In just one sign, The New York Times carried more than 100 articles per year from 1965 to 1980 that linked India’s name and population. How times have changed. In August 2017, an article in The Times of India proclaimed, “Govt raises foodgrain output to record 275.68 tonnes” (metric). In 1961, the harvest was less than 100 metric tons. This tripling of cereal grain production occurred with almost no change of the land area used for these crops. (See attached chart.) India’s food supply per person has increased over 20 percent since 1970, even as the population more than… View Article

The Unintended Consequences of Trade Protectionism

By Jeffrey Dorfman Jeffrey Dorfman The International Trade Commission has ruled that imported solar panels from China and other countries were injuring U.S. manufacturers, which will provide President Trump with the opportunity to impose tariffs in order to protect American solar panel producers from this “unfair” foreign competition. However, to protect the jobs of Americans who manufacture solar panels, the President would have to endanger the jobs of a larger groups of Americans: those who install the solar panels at our homes and businesses. Thus, solar panels are a perfect illustration of the dilemma inherent in opposing free trade. Justin Worland reports in Time magazine that solar panel manufacturers employ about 8,000 Americans while another 240,000 U.S. jobs are related… View Article

Georgia Works! Through Jobs Programs for Homeless

By Bill McGahan Georgia Works! helps formerly incarcerated and homeless men become productive citizens. Since our founding in 2013 we have helped 311 men get jobs, remain clean and get an apartment, and virtually all have not returned to prison. We have an additional 170 men in the program today, all working toward full-time employment. When a man comes to our voluntary program we ask him to do three things: Be clean of alcohol and drugs (we drug test everybody weekly) Take no handouts from the government or anyone else Work Over the course of 6-12 months we work with each of our clients on their “obstacles” to employment: the lack of a driver’s license, wage garnishments, criminal history, lack… View Article

On Muni Broadband, Buyer Beware

By Kelly McCutchen A year after the Savannah City Council approved a $62,500 contract asking consultants to explore potential demand for a municipal broadband network, the firm finally has released its findings and recommendations.  Magellan Advisors outlines three options: building and operating a taxpayer-financed network providing service directly to consumers at a cost of $116 million; building and operating a taxpayer-financed network providing service only to government offices at a cost of about $13 million; or joint ownership of a fiber-to-premises system with a private entity at a total cost of nearly $13 million, with taxpayers responsible for $6.6 million. Thankfully for the strained city budget, Magellan says the first option wouldn’t work here. Perhaps that’s because the system would… View Article
The topic of civil asset forfeiture, the practice of law enforcement seizing and holding property even if the owner is never charged with or convicted of a crime, has made the news recently both in Georgia and nationally. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation focuses frequently on civil asset forfeiture. Many other policy organizations and grassroots groups, both conservative and liberal, have decried the practice. Regrettably, its status remains the same after the most recent Georgia legislative session. While the last reforms Georgia made were meaningful, the result has been somewhat underwhelming. There should be transparency through increased reporting.  Unfortunately, there is no real accountability for missing information and some confusion in the reporting process itself, as the Foundation reported View Article

Legislature 2017 Misses Many Opportunities

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Last year, we wrote that the General Assembly is often, and appropriately, chided for passing last-minute bills with little debate or study. Once again this year, major legislation was crammed into the waning hours of the last day of the session. It was as ugly as the North Carolina-Gonzaga championship game. Several bills were hurriedly voted on after midnight; many legislators seemed more focused on tearing up papers for confetti in anticipation of Sine Die instead of studying the bills. Sadly, a major reform of adoption law, an income tax rate cut for Georgians and a minor expansion of school choice fell victim to the clock. Legislators wisely passed the 2018 budget before March 30,… View Article

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

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.

Former Georgia Senate Minority Leader Chuck Clay more quotes