Category: Government Reform

How Government Can Speed Broadband Access

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Internet access is foundational in today’s economy. Lack of access can grind business to a halt and hobble critical services including health care, transportation and education. As a result, forward-thinking telecommunication policy is a priority in making Georgia a great place to live and economically competitive. Georgia still has work to do to increase access to broadband but the news is good: Statewide, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports show, 87 percent of Georgians have access to wired broadband connections with speeds of 25 megabits per second (mbps) or higher and 93 percent have access to speeds of 10 mbps or higher. A whopping 99 percent of Georgia’s population has access to wireless broadband of 10… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award takes place on November 11 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and is keynoted by John Stossel. Through the years, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has presented the prestigious Freedom Award to a notable Georgian who has exemplified the principles of private enterprise and personal integrity. Previous recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Flowers Industries chairman emeritus William Flowers, the former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell, Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy; Deen Day Smith, chair of the Cecil B. Day Investment Company; former Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller; former Southern Company president Bill Dahlberg, Medal of Honor recipient General Raymond… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Pension Reform

Principles: Any reforms to pensions should consider the long-term solvency of a plan and protect the already promised benefits for employees already in the system. The benefits in a public employee retirement system should be sustainable, secure and affordable: Provide retirement security for all members (current and future) and retirees Manage and mitigate taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and market risk Reduce long-term costs for employers or taxpayers as well as employees Stabilize contribution rates Ensure the ability to recruit 21st-century employees Improve governance & transparency The best solutions emerge from collaborative efforts involving a broad cross-section of stakeholders in a process that examines flaws in a pension system, explores and analyzes all possible methods of reform,… View Article
California State Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell and various law enforcement groups in California have reached an agreement regarding the fate of a bill introducing various reform measures to the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws, according to The Los Angeles Times of August 5, 2016, The bill, S.B. 443, changes the requirement for seizing assets to a criminal conviction, but only for seizures of less than $40,000 in value.  This amount comes by way of a concession to the law enforcement community, who perceived the bill as too far-reaching without this addendum. “At its core, [the previous version of SB 443] sends basically a message to drug dealers that the cost of doing business has gone down,” said Ventura County… View Article
By Benita Dodd BENITA DODD The media hype surrounding the political parties’ national conventions spotlights the enormous discord created by personalities and politics as the presidential election approaches. Getting short shrift amid slogans and the scramble for dollars and votes are the policy proposals that will affect the lives of Americans — and Georgians — long after November 8. Many citizens dismiss the states’ impact on issues at the national level — federal taxes, immigration, the military and education policy, for example. Too many believe the answers depend on who is elected president and to Congress. It’s not always so. It behooves Georgians to pay close attention to innovative ideas closer to home. States are often incubators, testing life-enhancing policies… View Article

Few Bright Spots Under The Gold Dome

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Missed opportunities. That’s the best description of the just completed legislative session. The General Assembly is often, and appropriately, chided for passing last-minute bills with little debate or study. This year, several study committees put in work prior to the session to craft comprehensive reforms in education, tax and welfare reform. The work was for naught; none of the proposals passed. Education was pushed to the forefront when Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal appointed an Education Reform Commission in January 2015. Replacing Georgia’s 1980s-era funding formula was the primary focus, a feat two previous Governors had attempted and failed. After months of meetings and several fits and starts, the Commission released its 86-page final report full… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd March 13-19 is Sunshine Week, the annual nationwide celebration of government transparency and access to public information. It’s come just in time to reinforce the need for increased transparency under the Gold Dome to empower more Georgia citizens.   Georgia House and Senate floor sessions have been broadcast live over the Internet since 2003. This is hugely beneficial because average Georgians are able to follow legislation online, instead of having to trek over in person to the State Capitol. Granted, it does not provide as much access as the special interests, activists and lobbyists who are present (and often behind the scenes, too) at the Capitol to follow and influence debate, discussion and voting. Still, it… View Article
In an excellent op-ed, Eric Tanenblatt writes in the March 4-10 edition of The Atlanta Business Chronicle on how government and elected officials stifle and resist innovation “by protecting a legacy structure.” The former chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue who served in the administrations of both Presidents Bush cites as examples the initial reaction to Amazon and responses to Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Tesla and personal lender LendingClub.  (Georgia also saw this in the uphill battle faced by craft breweries and distilleries trying to sell their wares.) “Government’s inclination to snuff out innovation when it threatens incumbents is a cancer on our body politic that must be excised,” Tanenblatt writes. “The new sharing economy, an expansive market built on… View Article

Georgia Is Moving Forward on Welfare Reform

By Logan Pike and John Nothdurft Georgia’s dreadful welfare system is perhaps one of the worst in the nation, but the Legislature has an opportunity to reform the failing program and provide significant, lasting changes that will improve the lives of thousands of Georgia’s citizens. The Georgia Senate passed a welfare reform bill that will improve opportunities for upward mobility and self-sufficiency and protect those people who truly need assistance. The bill has been offered in large part as a result of four important hearings held in 2015 by the Georgia House Study Committee on Welfare Fraud, chaired by state Rep. David Clark (R-Buford). Those hearings were created to study the “conditions, needs, issues, and problems regarding Georgia welfare programs.”… View Article

Which Way Employment?

By Harold Brown                                             Harold Brown A person who wants a job and doesn’t have one knows exactly what unemployment means. Sadly, most of us who depend on the media to tell us about the nation’s unemployment don’t quite know. The “unemployment rate” supposedly tells us the proportion of people unemployed, and is often presented as the whole story.  But there is much more to it: The official “unemployment rate” is the percentage of people in the labor force who don’t have a job and are seeking one. What about changes in the size of the labor force? The labor force is not a fixed group. The focus may on the unemployment rate, but changing demographics affect the labor force as… View Article

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes