Category: Government Reform

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sunday edition on January 10, 2016 published this op-ed by Foundation president Kelly McCutchen on the Foundation’s hopes for the legislative session. The link to the op-ed is here. Time to prioritize, advance state’s economic prospects By Kelly McCutchen As the Georgia General Assembly meets in 2016 amid an upswing in state revenues, lawmakers should avoid the temptation to grow government spending and programs. Rather, legislators should focus on prioritizing the Rainy Day Fund, limiting government and advancing economic opportunity. Economic opportunity begins with quality education. Replacing the 30-year-old school funding formula with a student-centered model is overdue and will dominate the headlines, but the shift to a competency-based education system is perhaps the most overlooked… View Article

A 2016 Legislative Wish List for Georgia

By Kelly McCutchen Conventional wisdom says a budget surplus plus an election year equals a legislative session that adjourns quickly to maximize time for campaigning and fundraising, but not before spreading government funds as widely as possible to maximize voter “happiness.” But Georgia, like many states, faces real challenges so one can hope for leadership on real reforms instead of politics as usual. The current political debate over income inequality distracts attention from a more important issue: economic opportunity. With Georgia’s high level of poverty and a middle class feeling like they are economically stuck in the mud, it’s more important than ever that our policies focus on empowering individuals with every opportunity to climb the economic ladder and tearing… View Article
Letter to the editor, The Citizen, sent December 9, 2015 in response to a letter from Peachtree City Public Information Officer Betsy Tyler alleging the city’s plans were “misrepresented” by the Foundation President Kelly McCutchen and Watchdog.org reporter Chris Butler: Peachtree City’s Public Information Officer and City Clerk, Betsy Tyler, accuses the Georgia Public Policy Foundation of being “alarmist” in questioning Peachtree City’s plan to build out a government-owned broadband internet network (“PTC’s cable plans misrepresented in story,” December 8, 2015). We admit to being alarmed that a supposedly fiscally conservative city in Metro Atlanta would engage in such a risky venture, but we are far from alarmist. The Foundation has a nearly 25 year record of defending… View Article

A Success Story in Helping Lower-income Workers

By Kelly McCutchen With the media focused on partisan gridlock in Washington, it’s easy to overlook major success stories in bringing bipartisan public policy and innovative business partnerships together to help American workers. Part-time and other lower-income workers often drop out of the banking system because they find it is not worth it to pay the higher banking fees that come with carrying low balances in their accounts. But without a checking account, they can’t receive their paycheck by direct deposit. As a consequence, they face the expense of check-cashing services in order to access their paychecks, the expense of buying money orders to pay bills and the expense of payday loans when bills come due before payday. In what… View Article
Anonymous political speech has been essential to democratic discourse since the founding of our republic.  Ratification of the U.S. Constitution was primarily debated through a series of anonymous papers.  Yet in recent years, anonymous political speech has been under attack by so-called “dark money” critics, who demand that government expose the identities of individuals, businesses, labor unions and nonprofits that spend money to participate in political dialogue.  Couched as “transparency” measures, “dark money” disclosure mandates are often used as excuses to silence disfavored speech.  Troublingly, disclosure mandates are sweeping the country in the form of vague and overbroad regulations reaching the activities of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations – groups that operate in nearly every sector and industry in the United States… View Article

Halloween, ‘Sugar’ and The Right To Try

Are you ready for Halloween? I’m looking forward to good weather and good times with the hordes of trick-or-treaters this evening! Whenever Halloween and the predictions of “sugar highs” come around, I’m reminded of my mother. She had what she called “sugar.” When she died in 2012, having spent more than a painful decade as a bedridden amputee, she had battled Type 2 Diabetes for more than 40 years. The memories are mostly happy thoughts, though, because we were fortunate to have my mother in our lives nearly 75 years. I never did get to meet my grandmother: My mother was just 15 when her 45-year-old mother succumbed to the same insidious disease. It’s one of the reasons I monitor… View Article

Opportunity’s Knocking Hard at Georgia’s Door

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Six years after the economic downturn, the job market for able-bodied adults in Georgia remains one of the worst in the nation, according to recent figures. The challenge is not insurmountable, but strengthening the job market and Georgia’s economy requires the buy-in of this state’s policy-makers. Georgia has experienced the second-largest decline in the nation in the employment rate for 25- to 54-year-olds – the prime working years – the Pew Center reports. Today, there are 5.4 fewer working 25- to 54-year-olds out of every 100 than there were in 2007. Only New Mexico beat out Georgia for last place. Add to that the startling numbers that led to Georgia’s slate of criminal… View Article

Municipal Broadband Puts Taxpayers’ Wallets at Risk

By Kelly McCutchen For centuries, too-good-to-be-true deals have snagged investors with promises that they can ignore past failures because “this time it will be different.” Peachtree City’s leaders appear to have been told a similar story. The Peachtree City city council approved a resolution last month to build out a government-owned broadband Internet network for municipal buildings and local businesses. The project will require a 10-year, $3.2 million bond issue to pay for the cost of laying fiber optic lines along the right-of-way of the city’s many golf cart paths. For those who don’t know their Georgia geography, Peachtree City is not a small, rural hamlet in the-middle-of-nowhere Georgia with limited broadband Internet access. It is located just 30 miles… View Article

How I Grew to Appreciate Entrepreneurs: I Met Some

By Jim Walker Oxford, Michigan, was a small farming community when I lived there during my childhood. After a Burger King arrived and we got our second stoplight, I thought we had hit the big time. My stay-at-home mom and schoolteacher dad had seven children; I was the third oldest. Our family had an abundance of love, and enough money to not be poor. But our finances were limited, and that created some stress. My dad scrounged for wood to heat the home, and drove used cars that were always in need of repair from the abuse they received on our dirt road. We bought bread from a bulk clearinghouse. The bread was past its expiration date, but it cost… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The average Joe’s eyes tend to glaze over when I share that I work at a state-focused free-market think tank. I try again, telling them it’s a public policy research organization. What finally resonates is when I say, as I did this week at the sushi restaurant I frequent, “I work to keep government out of your business: lower taxes and stop interfering in how you run your business.” When that dawned on the server at the restaurant, whose first language clearly isn’t English, a huge smile lit up her face. As I left, she said to me, laughing, “Now, go do your work!” I love my work. It may sound like a highfalutin profession, but… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is something that I am proud to be a part of today. The research conducted by education groups like yours is invaluable in helping form opinions and allowing people to reach conclusions that ultimately help them make the right decisions.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes