Category: Issues

Agenda 2005: A Guide To The Issues

Transportation Agenda Traffic congestion, while inconvenient, is a sign of a thriving economy. Focus transportation planning on increasing mobility. Facilitate private enterprise involvement in transportation improvements. Rethink how we price roads. Plan for increased capacity in growing urban areas. Relieve congestion by expediting truck traffic. Encourage types of transit that are competitive with automobiles. Deregulate the urban transit market to improve service and choice. Utilize competitive contracting to reduce costs. Reduce the role of the federal government in the transportation funding equation. Use objective criteria in choosing commuter and intercity passenger rail routes. Facts The Federal Highway Administration expects vehicle miles of travel to increase by another 42 percent between 2003 and 2020, with the growth rate for heavy trucks… View Article

An Education on Charter Schools

By Dr. Holly Robinson and Eric Wearne The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) ignited a national controversy when it published a study recently that contends charter schools are underperforming compared with traditional public schools. The controversy centers on how to evaluate the AFT’s reported test scores. It is important, however, that any evaluation take into account the academic achievement of these students before they entered their charter schools, to keep in mind that charter schools are patronized heavily by poor and minority students, and to acknowledge the astonishing variety of charter schools. Responding to the AFT study, which received widespread coverage after a New York Times report, researchers at Harvard’s Program in Education Policy and Governance pointed out that comparing… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Attend a local planning meeting these days and the discussion inevitably turns to land use and the role it plays in transportation, congestion and density challenges, especially in the metro Atlanta region. It’s no surprise, given the national trend to “smart growth” practices and Atlanta’s reputation as “sprawl capital of the world,” that area forums and studies reveal a strong push in some quarters to link transportation policy and land use practices. At an Atlanta Regional Commission retreat recently in Cobb County, ARC members heard of the successes of the ARC’s Livable Centers Initiative communities. The ARC provides seed money to communities that incorporate the live-work-play concept, are pedestrian-friendly, improve access to transit and other transportation… View Article

Agenda 2005: A Guide to the Issues

Spending Agenda Encourage more transparency and disclosure of government spending in a manner that is understandable and accessible to taxpayers Implement a reasonable limit on government spending Establish a formal, objective analysis of all spending Consolidate support services and utilize technology to reduce costs Commission a Sunset Commission to audit every spending program Adopt a capital charge system Reform the state retirement system by adopting a defined contribution plan Create a Regulatory Review and Innovation Commission Facts In comparing spending among states, it is necessary to combine local and state spending due to the differences between states. For example, 72 percent of New Mexico’s K-12 education spending is at the state level, while in Nevada that number is only 29… View Article

Agenda 2004: A Guide to the Issues

Legal Reform Agenda Ensure that Georgia’s tort and contract laws do not discourage the development of business in the state. Ensure that Georgia’s procedural laws are appropriate for the equitable distribution of justice. Require any scientific evidence or other expert testimony to meet a minimum threshold of reliability based on verifiable facts, published literature and industry-accepted standards before being presented to a jury. Adopt a version of the Federal offer of settlement rule to discourage the trial of cases in which there is either little merit to the claims or unreasonable demands for damages. Codify the recent U. S. Supreme Court ruling on punitive damages to give Georgia trial court judges greater latitude when reviewing and a stronger mandate to… View Article

Agenda 2005: A Guide to the Issues

Taxes Agenda Reduce Georgia’s overall tax burden. Minimize Georgia’s reliance on the income tax. Encourage, where possible, low tax rates and a wide tax base by limiting exemptions. Eliminate the discriminatory aspect of the insurance premium tax. Compete for corporate headquarters. Facts Georgians are paying about $2 billion less than they would have absent any tax reduction. However, even with these cuts, Georgia’s budget from FY 1991 to FY 2003 outpaced the increase in inflation and population by 5.6 percent or $780 million. Source: Twelve Years of Budget Growth: Where Has The Money Gone?(http://frp.aysps.gsu/frp/frpreports/Report_84/index.htm) – Allan Essig. Fiscal Research Program, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, July 2003. Of the 50 states, Georgia’s per capita tax… View Article

Agenda 2005

Agenda 2005: A Guide To The Issues Water Agenda Adopt better pricing of water to encourage conservation. Adopt user fees to pay for source-water protection. Implement cost-based user fees to fund watershed protection. Promote flexibility and compliance assistance in water environmental policy. Encourage municipal stormwater utilities. Establish a statewide Watershed Management Trust Fund. Provide opportunities for industry and farmers to trade for water quality improvements similar to the current air trading program. Educate developers and facilitate adoption of conservation-minded water practices. Eliminate the discriminatory aspect of the insurance premium tax. Consider a market-based trading system for allocating water use  Facts Georgia has more than 70,150 miles of rivers and streams and more than 425,382 acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds.… View Article

Agenda 2005: A Guide To The Issues

Air Quality Agenda Implement an effective emissions trading system similar to the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which implements a regional cap-and-trade strategy to reduce ground-level ozone. Improve prioritization of air pollution risks. Reduce traffic congestion. Use remote sensing technology to target the small number of high-polluting vehicles. Use market incentives to encourage fleet turnover. Implement and encourage more convenient, accessible, cost-effective and economical mass transit options. Lower the fixed costs of owning an automobile. Embrace innovative incentives to encourage use of transportation alternatives. Encourage market-oriented policies to increase urban tree cover and reduce impervious surface and stormwater runoff. Encourage more telecommuting. Facts Research on vehicles in metro Atlanta indicates that 3 percent of the vehicles… View Article

Georgia Needs A High-Risk Health Insurance Pool

By Russ Childers An estimated 1 million of Georgia’s non-elderly residents are uninsured; at 13 percent, one of the highest rates in the country. The good news is that fewer than one in 10 of those were uninsured for more than a year, and nearly seven in 10 are employed or the dependent of an employed person. Some individuals choose not to purchase health insurance, but many of the uninsured believe they can’t afford coverage or have not enrolled in public programs for which they qualify. Many Georgians, however, cannot buy health insurance at any price; they do not have access to insurance through their employer and have a medical condition that causes individual insurers to deny them coverage. If… View Article

UPS President Brings Home Outsourcing Debate

By David Abney (Excerpts from the UPS International president’s keynote address to the Southern Growth Policies Board on June 13, 2004.) This is an election year. So, of course, jobs are front-page news. Many of these stories remind us that American companies have outsourced jobs overseas, and that globalization is responsible. What could be so bad, then, about taking steps that will limit trade, if these steps can protect the erosion of American jobs? At the most basic level, that interferes with a process history tells us is human nature. Trading is as natural as communicating. In the l9th century, technology advances in ocean steamships and the intercontinental railway opened new territories and U.S. state markets to trade. And prosperity… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been doing important work for the free enterprise movement for the past 20 years.  I can assure you from the vantage of a non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. with much the same principles as GPPF that the work we do simply would not be possible if it were not for the important work that GPPF does.  We see it, we understand it, it is an inspiration to us, it is the kind of thing that will translate into the important work that we can do in Washington, D.C.  We thank you very much for that.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2011) more quotes