Category: Issues

Lessons and Opportunities from The Election

By Kelly McCutchen It’s not always as good, or bad, as it seems. The same can be said of this year’s national election. Conservatives and liberals should temper their enthusiasm and despair; this election was not an endorsement of any ideology. It was a revolt, as Peggy Noonan so aptly puts it, by the “unprotected” against the “protected.” At its core were middle-class Americans, who had done everything they were told to do, but were frustrated by rising taxes and higher education and health care costs as their wages remained stagnant. They had lost hope in the future, for their children and in the American Dream. They felt disgust at the ruling political class and their crony friends and corrupt… View Article
Atlanta – Governor Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District proposal was outdone by the National Education Association’s nearly $5 million opposition campaign and outvoted 60-40 percent on November 8. Still, this state can’t afford to leave 68,000 children out to dry in “chronically failing schools.”  What next? Find out at, “Saving Our Students: Georgia’s Education Policy Options,” the final Leadership Breakfast of 2016 hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, at 8 a.m. on Thursday, December 8 at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The speakers are (outgoing) Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a member of the Education Reform Commission, which released its recommendations in December 2015, and Erin Hames, a former teacher, former Chief of Staff at the Georgia Department of… View Article

Health Care: Another Foundation Frontier

By Benita M. Dodd This month, as the Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrates 25 years of policy over politics, many Georgians are getting ready for a 25 percent increase in health insurance premiums. It’s a clear case of politics trumping policy; a congressional sledgehammer was taken to a problem needing precision surgery. The Foundation has worked for a quarter-century to bring incremental improvements that facilitate individual opportunity instead of socially engineering Georgians’ options. It takes time to turn the tanker of state government, but the timeline demonstrates how ideas planted by this state-focused free-market think tank have taken root and flourished. Some examples: Education choice: When the Foundation was established in 1991, public school choice was nonexistent; children from… View Article
A legal memorandum by John-Michael Seibler of the Heritage Foundation proposes, “Seven State Criminal Justice Reform Measures for Congress to Consider.” It points out: “A number of states—those laboratories of democracy—are leading the current push for genuine reform that does not involve issuing get-out-of-jail-free cards to those deserving of punishment. The federal government would be well-served by looking to the modest, measured pieces of legislation states have crafted to battle overcriminalization and enact effective criminal justice reform.”  Read the memorandum in its entirety on the Heritage Foundation website here. The measures are  Enact Mens Rea Reform to Decriminalize Morally Innocent Mistakes or Accidents Repeal Outdated, Unnecessary Criminal Laws Codify the Rule of Lenity (guides judicial interpretation of… View Article
The Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (October 30, 2016) contained an op-ed by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on the November 8 transportation sales tax votes in Atlanta, “Atlanta shouldn’t railroad themselves into old solutions.” The op-ed can be accessed online here and is reprinted in its entirety below. Atlanta shouldn’t railroad themselves into old solutions By Benita Dodd If there’s a bright side to November’s two transportation SPLOST votes in the city of Atlanta, it’s that they are confined to the city. The rest of Fulton County, having separated its transportation vote from the city, is largely embracing the future instead of romancing the past. Few understand the enormity of the MARTA transit tax hike for Atlanta. It… View Article

Tough Choices on Tax Reform for Georgia

By Kelly McCutchen Tennessee just became the second state in U.S. history to eliminate its personal income tax. Florida and Texas do not have a personal income tax. With Georgia’s unsuccessful attempts over the last decade to shift to a more pro-growth tax structure by lowering its personal income tax, it’s worth asking the question: How do these states manage it? Do they spend less? Do other sources of revenue make up for lower income taxes? Or is it something unique that Georgia can’t duplicate? Georgia’s personal income tax brings in more than $8 billion a year, or $878 per capita. The challenge is to identify $878 per capita of spending cuts or other revenues to make up the difference.… View Article

Give Prisoners a Second Chance

By Gerard Robinson and Elizabeth English On October 12, 29 prisoners and 45 Baltimore-area experts in criminal justice congregated in the Jessup Correctional Institution library. Most were members of the University of Baltimore community or other academics. All were eager to see the inauguration of a Department of Education pilot program that could change the lives of participants for years to come. In June 2016, the university was chosen among 67 colleges and universities nationwide to participate in the Obama administration’s $30 million Second Chance Pell Grant Experimental Sites Initiative. Under the program, approximately 12,000 of America’s 2.2 million incarcerated will receive federal aid to pursue a higher education. Upon release, they will retain the Pell funding to finish… View Article

Tempers in a Teacup Dilute Women’s Issues

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD The headline in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week sums up stormy presidential politics: “2016 race devolves into ugly fight over treatment of women.” Many believe the battle over which presidential candidate is more endearing to women is the crux of the women’s vote. It isn’t. Not every woman is a “victim” seeking protection and a “safe place.” Not even most of them. There are working mothers, single mothers, stay-at-home moms and women who chose not to have children. They are wives, single women, retirees and senior citizens, welfare recipients, homemakers, home-based workers, professionals and business owners. Just like the lifestyles women choose or prefer, their policy issues run the gamut. They believe in limited… View Article
Twenty-five years. A quarter of a century. It’s hard to believe the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been around that long. In exactly one month – November 11 – we’re having a birthday celebration, keynoted by John Stossel of Fox Business Network. I hope you’ve received our invitation and plan to join us. I took a stroll down Memory Lane today and visited our Friday Fax archives, reading some from back when we faxed them to donors on a weekly basis. (Now they’re the “Friday Facts,” and if you’re reading this, you’re on the list already!) Friday Fax January 22, 1999 One Friday Fax, January 22, 1999, we devoted entirely to President Bill Clinton’s budget. We reminded… View Article

Obscure State Laws Hurt Patients, Make Hospitals Worse

By Christopher Koopman and Thomas Stratmann Comparing states with and without certificate-of-need laws provides us with a unique window into how providers would react in a world without CON laws: When providers have to compete for patients, the level of care increases. Individual doctors, nurses and health care administrators are doing their best, but on the macro level, the basic laws of economics still apply to their industry.  More than five decades have passed since New York state first enacted something called a certificate-of-need law (CON) in an effort to curb rising health care costs. Such laws, now enforced in 35 states and the District of Columbia, require providers to first seek permission from their state’s government before opening a… View Article

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U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell more quotes