Category: Government Reform

By Mike Klein Mike Klein, EditorGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Georgians will need a comfy couch, lots of time and perhaps some caffeine when they begin to read newly introduced juvenile justice and civil code legislation.  Juvenile justice provisions in  House Bill 242 include a proposal to completely revise the state’s 32-year-old juvenile Designated Felony Act, a long overdue step forward, by creating two classes of more and less serious juvenile felony crimes. Juvenile civil code revisions would update laws that govern how juvenile courts operate and the rights of minors in custody and other situations.  The legislation is a comfy couch read at 244 pages.  The juvenile justice sections closely follow the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommendations,… View Article

TaxReformTheGame.Com … Welcome to Planet Wonky!

By Mike Klein Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Warning:  Your star ship is about to land on Planet Wonky!   After all, discussions about whether to broaden the tax base, change exemptions and deductions and other such discourse are, if nothing else, wonky.    Even the wonkiest of wonks admit that what they do is too wonky for most folks.  But ah ha!  Now there is a wonky game for even the least wonky among us. TaxReformTheGame.Com has launched on the internet.   It is your ticket to rewriting Georgia’s tax code all by yourself using the two simplest rules in the game:  Point and Click.  Each time you point and click, each time you change the data going in, you… View Article
By David Brunori David BrunoriContribuing EditorState Tax Notes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has made the most provocative tax reform recommendation in many years. Jindal said he would overhaul the tax law. If he has his way, he’ll revolutionize it. The governor proposes to eliminate both the personal and corporate income laws in Louisiana. Why eliminate all the income taxes in the state? Jindal thinks it would be a boon to the economy. If the state allows citizens to keep more money in their pockets, they will invest and spend wisely (certainly more wisely than the government). Jindal also believes the change will attract businesses. Businesses, too, would like to keep more money in their pockets. The Tax Foundation predicts… View Article

Government Transparency

What if … Every citizen could track every dollar of federal, state or local government spending, every contract, every real estate deal and every travel expense? What if … Citizens in every Georgia community could use their local knowledge to track and analyze local expenditures? What if … National experts could help citizens decipher government accounting and establish benchmarks for every government service? What if … We could honor every government in Georgia that offered quality services at the best value to taxpayers? What if … we could expose fraud, waste and abuse at every level of government? We believe transparency is the first step to accomplishing all of those goals. Georgia has become a leader in that area, but… View Article

Congress Works to Dismantle and Defund ObamaCare

By Grace-Marie Turner Grace-Marie TurnerPresident, Galen Institute Facing a presidential veto pen blocking repeal of ObamaCare, the House is working to defund, dismantle, and delay implementation of the unpopular health overhaul law to avert at least some of its damage in the near term. The Fiscal Cliff deal chipped away at ObamaCare, eliminating one of its programs completely and cutting funding for another. Farewell, CLASS: The CLASS Act, a long-term-care insurance program that had been championed by late Sen. Edward Kennedy, was blessedly eliminated. The administration had said last year it couldn’t figure a way to assure the program would be financially solvent for 75 years before it was put into place – as the law requires. Health Secretary Kathleen… View Article
By Steve Metz Georgia’s Teachers Retirement System (TRS) represents a significant cost to taxpayers and an important part of teachers’ compensation and benefits package.  The current system is typical of government / teacher pension plans set up many years ago and it serves many teachers well (especially those who put in 30 or 40 years).  There are a lot of situations where it does not work well in today’s world however, and there are many reasons to believe it should be revised. From an employer’s perspective, a retirement plan should help with the Three R’s: Recruiting, Retaining and Rewarding employees.  In the rest of this discussion I will address how the TRS could be modified to better meet these objectives.… View Article

Funding Dearth Opens Opportunity Under the Gold Dome

By Kelly McCutchen Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Not everything is off limits to Georgia’s government in an economic recession. On the contrary, the challenge forces Georgia to explore opportunities for fundamental reforms that improve efficiency and effectiveness in the long run. Below are ideas that, if implemented, could help position the state ideally for the future. First, the state can enhance bipartisan criminal justice reforms enacted in 2012 by reforming the juvenile justice system and by protecting innocent owners and their property rights through a reform of civil asset forfeiture law. Then, there’s an ideal opportunity to improve access to justice for victims of medical negligence with patient-centered tort reform. The medical malpractice system works well for… View Article
  Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Kelly McCutchen  When we wake up on Wednesday after Election Day, there will be less uncertainty in America. But will there be greater confidence? The election will not solve fundamental issues such as transportation, education and health care. In fact, it will create new questions. Successfully addressing these challenges will require strong leadership at the state and national level.  Leadership is not just about ideas and policy. It’s about taking the initiative to bring people together for a common goal. This is important: America appears more politically polarized than ever. Imagine if this nation could function consistently at the level of unity shown after tragic events. There was no Republican versus… View Article

State Property Leases Could Get a New Lease on Life

By Benita M. Dodd There are two constitutional amendments on the ballot in Georgia for voters to consider on November 6. To borrow a word revived in the American lexicon by Vice President Joe Biden, there has been much malarkey in the debate regarding Amendment No. 1, which would provide more public charter school options. Few voters, however, are even aware of Amendment No. 2, which would allow the state to enter multi-year property lease agreements. Georgia’s State Properties Commission, responsible for the inventory of all owned or leased state government facilities and property, has a database of 1,800 leases, 15,000 buildings and 1.1 million acres. The Commission says a longstanding interpretation of the Georgia Constitution limits the state to… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen   Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation New Census Bureau data ranks Georgia’s poverty rate as third highest in the nation. Combined with the state’s next-to-last ranking in personal income growth over the last decade, this is cause for concern. Georgians can either be distracted by divisive class warfare or focus on breaking down the barriers to economic opportunity.  Transportation is a good place to start. Transit should focus first on giving the poor and disabled access to jobs and education. That requires an affordable transit network that matches the “everywhere to everywhere” commuting patterns of metro areas that developed in the age of the automobile. Education is the best pathway to opportunity. Nothing should stand… View Article

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Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers more quotes