Category: Government Reform

By Benita M. Dodd The average Georgian has never been under the Gold Dome. Many have vague memories of a two-headed calf on display during a State Capitol school field trip. For most Georgians, the closest they get to the General Assembly is their legislator’s local townhall meeting or, if they are really interested, watching legislators in action online. For this reason, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation marks Sunshine Week. In its 18th year and celebrated March 11-17 this year, the event highlights government transparency and access to public information. Transparency is the reason the Foundation has campaigned for years to have elected officials and local government share more data online, accessible to ordinary, working Georgians and the watchdog… View Article
This event was held on February 20, 2018 and featured a panel with Len Gilroy, Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project and  Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, and Georgia State Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Chairman of the Georgia House Budget and Fiscal Oversight Committee. The presentation may be downloaded here: PDF file View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release February 13, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Foundation Hosts February 20 Event on Georgia Teacher Pension Reform Atlanta – In 2017, Georgia’s budget included $223 million for the Teacher Retirement System to improve its financial security. This year, Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget includes another $361.7 million to prop up the pension fund for Georgia teachers.  Why is this happening? How much longer will Georgia taxpayers have to pump money into the TRS?  More important, what assurances do Georgia teachers entering the profession have that their benefits will be there when they retire? Find out more at “Pension Solvency and Public Education: The Case for Reforming Georgia Teacher Pensions,”… View Article

Lawmakers Have Some Unfinished Business on the Table

By Benita M. Dodd Part two of Georgia’s two-year legislative session is under way. Weather delays notwithstanding, campaign fundraising for this year’s elections is on legislators’ minds so expect a quick 40 days. The governor announced January 10 that he would call a special session if Georgia became a finalist in online behemoth Amazon’s search for its next headquarters. On January 18, Atlanta became one of 20 candidates (out of 238 applicants) that made the first cut. Before legislators rush off, however, there is some important unfinished business on the table since 2017.  Education legislation held over, especially, needs attention. Last year, legislators approved providing grants of $100,000 to fund facilities for public charter schools, which often struggle to pay… View Article
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
By Harold Brown 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 doubled. At the same time life expectancy has… View Article
By 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 to selling… View Article
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

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes