Category: Government Reform

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 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 Sebelius wrote in a… 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 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 trial lawyers and insurance companies but barely… View Article
  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 Democrat in the wake of 9-11. Do… 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   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 between a child and a good education,… 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   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 are facing a struggle.  In March, Atlanta-based Sun Trust… 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 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 both a national and state examination. According to the… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been doing important work for the free enterprise movement for the past 20 years.  I can assure you from the vantage of a non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. with much the same principles as GPPF that the work we do simply would not be possible if it were not for the important work that GPPF does.  We see it, we understand it, it is an inspiration to us, it is the kind of thing that will translate into the important work that we can do in Washington, D.C.  We thank you very much for that.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2011) more quotes