Category: Government Reform

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
By Benita M. Dodd One of the greatest compliments paid to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation after the first Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing last year came from a representative of the think tank trailblazer in educating policy-makers: the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Marc Levin, panelist in a criminal justice session that highlighted the progress in his home state of Texas, declared Georgia’s foray an “incredible conference!” “We’ve been doing this for eight years in Texas and I can’t believe this was your first one,” said Levin, whose Texas policy group’s two-day legislative policy briefings draw more than 600 participants annually. Specifically, Levin was impressed at how many of Georgia’s legislators attended: “We have to put them on panels in order… View Article

USDA’s Feeding Frenzy

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation How does the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) budget grow in proportion to the shrinkage of its mission? Perhaps it is a reward for agriculture’s phenomenal success. Its increased efficiency is one of the miracles of the 20th century. Or, just maybe, the USDA’s budget grows with its emphasis on missions far removed from assisting U.S. agriculture. The growth in farm productivity from 1948 to 2002 was 1.8 percent annually, faster than non-farm productivity (1.2 percent). But farm residents make up less than 2 percent of the population today, compared to 40 percent at the beginning and one-fourth in the middle of the 20th century. The number of farms… View Article

Building Authority Builds a Better Agency

By Steve Stancil The core mission of the Georgia Building Authority (GBA) is to provide a clean, comfortable and safe environment on Capitol Hill. Much like former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith suggests in his “Yellow Pages test,” the authority recognized several years ago that some services are not part of that core mission of essential services: The state and taxpayers would be better and more efficiently served by third-party private enterprise or specialty agencies. Today, of 18 services under GBA auspices, only three are wholly implemented by the GBA. Six services are provided by a blend of GBA and contracted services and nine are entirely contracted out. Additionally, police protection, construction project management on bond-funded projects, van pool services and… View Article

Are Georgia’s OPEB Liabilities a Problem?

By Allen Buckley   The media often reports about the funding problems of state and local pension plans, such as the plans maintained by Illinois, California and New Jersey. Georgia’s pension plans have also received significant press as well, although most of it has been positive. Regularly overlooked are liabilities relating to post-retirement medical obligations.   In a February 28, 2006 press release titled “Georgia Named One of Top Five Best States for Pension Funds,” Governor Sonny Perdue boasted: “I am proud of Georgia’s high pension fund ratio.” The article stated the State’s pension funding ratio was 101 percent, trailing only Florida and North Carolina.   Like most pension plans, Georgia’s plans have been hit hard by the recession and… View Article

Eight Affordable Ideas for Georgia

By Kelly McCutchen The General Assembly gathers in Atlanta next week facing a deficit of well over $1 billion. Across-the-board budget cuts are no longer sufficient to bridge the budget gap. Georgia needs more innovative, transformative ideas. The budget would appear to limit the state’s options, but there are still several progressive reforms that won’t break the bank. Tax Reform: Pro-growth tax reforms that shift taxes to consumption and away from taxing work and investment would improve Georgia’s competitive position without costing money. Simplifying the tax code would also have positive effects. Finally, providing local governments with the flexibility, with voter approval, to temporarily shift sales tax proceeds to operations could avoid damaging property tax increases.   Regulatory Reform View Article
By Eric Tresh Communications service providers offer voice, video and Internet access services to customers throughout Georgia. These services are provided by a number of different types of companies using a variety of broadband technologies. For example, telecommunications, satellite and Internet companies now offer video programming service. In addition, cable providers often have subsidiaries that provide voice services and a number of companies use the Internet to provide audio and video conferencing services. These services all benefit consumers and enhance productivity throughout the state. In addition to the benefits for consumers, broadband services are significant drivers of Georgia’s economy. Broadband providers invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year into Georgia’s economy, creating jobs and enhancing infrastructure. While technology has… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The free-market think tanks that focus on state policy issues often exchange and replicate their successful ideas and case studies in effective government. Reinventing the wheel to implement each issue in each state is unproductive and inefficient, which is why the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is proud to admit that its ideas proposed in this state frequently have been tried and tested elsewhere. Among the recent ideas the Foundation has introduced to Georgia are the tax reforms proposed in New Mexico by sister think tank the Rio Grande Foundation;  transportation improvementsproposed by Robert Poole, director of Transportation Studies at the Reason Foundation, and enhancements in higher education proposed by Richard Vedder, director of the Center… View Article

Georgia Must Move from Moderation to Innovation

By Tom Greene   As we close in on November, Georgia’s voters are firming up opinions about which Gubernatorial candidate should lead us into the 21st Century.   No doubt each candidate brings certain strengths and weaknesses to the race. And each brings a passion for the state of Georgia. Why else would anyone wander around kissing babies, pressing flesh and eating rubber chicken at every Rotary Club in the Peach State? It’s a grueling task and one that most people cannot fathom. That is, unless his spouse is already planning her Christmas party at the mansion on West Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta.   So which of the cast members really has the passion to bring about the necessary change that will… View Article

To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.

The late W. H. Flowers, Jr., Chairman, Flowers industries, Inc. more quotes