Category: Government Reform

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
(The Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute released this Issue Analysis that discusses the impact of federal banking laws in Georgia.) By John Berlau   John Berlau, Senior Fellow for Finance, Competitive Enterprise Institute Few states have been hit as hard by the financial crisis as Georgia.  With her economic engine humming and unemployment hovering around 5 percent for several years until 2008, Georgia suddenly saw thousands of mortgages our and dozens of banks fail in a slide that continues to this day. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has closed at least 80 banks in Georgia since 2008, more bank failures than in any other state in the union.  Even the largest banks in the Peach State… View Article

Seven Principles of Sound Public Policy

By Lawrence W. Reed The following contains excerpts from a speech given by Larry Reed, an adjunct scholar with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and president of the Midland, Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, to the Economic Club of Detroit in 2001.The speech outlines key principles that should provide valuable guidance to all current and future policymakers. …I know that this Club has heard many policy addresses by many leaders in government, business and academia-policy addresses that dealt in some detail with specific pressing issues of the day, from transportation to education to health care and countless other important topics. At the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, our specialty is researching and recommending detailed prescriptions for today’s policy questions,… View Article

License to Kill Business

By Benita M. Dodd Benita M. Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation From a historic building on the banks of the Etowah River in Rome, Ga., Ed Watters and his co-workers design elaborate gardens and manage a successful landscape company with a staff of more than 60. Behind the serene décor of the Outdoor Living Studio, however, lurk onerous regulatory hoops that the company must jump through to do business. One of those hurdles is licensing. The Institute for Justice reports that Georgia is one of just 10 states that require landscape workers – known as landscape architects – to have an occupational license to work in Georgia. According to the Secretary of State’s Web site, applicants must pass… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen and John Berlau The news that Bank of America is again testing new fees is likely to prompt even more consumers, in Georgia and other states, to take their business away from big financial institutions and give it to regional banks and credit unions. While competition is the American way, it’s important to note that Bank of America and other banks are responding to federal price controls that raise costs for debit card processing. Now, smaller banks and credit unions (and their customers) are at risk from the same Washington price controls. These price controls, contained in the Durbin Amendment of “Dodd-Frank,” the so-called financial reform law Congress rammed through in 2010, offer no tangible benefits to… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen In a typical election year, legislators tend to adopt a “do-nothing” attitude lest they somehow offend potential voters. This year in Georgia could, and should, be different in order to take advantage of several transformative opportunities. Georgia has the fourth-highest incarceration rate in the nation. This year offers an opportunity to implement reforms – proven in Texas and other states – to make our streets safer, change lives and save taxpayers money. Implementing more effective and less expensive sanctions for non-violent offenders, including treatment for drug addition and mental health issues, could save taxpayers more than $250 million. Eight states are currently considering significant income tax cuts. Last year, the tax reform council appointed by the Legislature… View Article
By Steve Stancil Innovation is nothing new for Georgia’s State Properties Commission. As the state’s real estate portfolio manager, the agency with its staff of 12 is responsible for the management of all state-owned and leased space and the acquisition and disposition of all state-owned property. Since its reorganization in 2005, the commission has applied strategies and approaches to improve state services in space, asset and transaction management. This includes a Web site to identify potential sites for state agencies’ space needs and an electronic tracking system. Additionally, an interactive, Web-based data warehouse includes more than 1,900 leases, 15,000 buildings and 1.1 million acres of owned and leased land. Last year, the commission began a study of underutilized and surplus… View Article

I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.

President George W. Bush more quotes