Category: Issues

Should Georgia Adopt Early Voting?

Hans A. von Spakovsky1 In Georgia, as in other states, we are concerned over the continuing decline in voter turnout. On a national level, the 49% turnout in the presidential election of 1996 was the lowest turnout in a presidential election since Calvin Coolidge was elected in 1924 and the second lowest since 1824. The national turnout of 36%2 of the eligible electorate in the 1998 mid-term election was the lowest turnout in congressional elections since 1942, when America was deeply involved in World War II and millions of American servicemen were overseas. The turnout in Georgia was even lower: in 1996 it was 42.6% and in 1998 it was 31.6%. Early voting, the ability to vote a ballot… View Article

Electric Drive: The Standard for the 21st Century

John Wilson Global technology, environmental, and transportation trends are moving quickly toward a revolution in vehicles. The revolution can be seen as close as Centennial Olympic Park, the parking decks at Lenox Square, or the streets of Chattanooga. It can also be observed in street signs in Paris and La Rochelle, France, or as a topic of discussion in governments on every continent. It can even be found on the Web, where you can “buy into” this revolution with your credit card. The revolution is bringing clean, highly efficient, and ultra-quiet electric drives to buses, garbage trucks, pickups, sedans, delivery vehicles, scooters, and bikes. It is at the heart of the transformation of Chattanooga from “the dirtiest city in the… View Article

Georgia Denies Seniors Choice

Kelly McCutchen My great-grandfather lived through the Depression and, like many of his peers, was fiercely independent. At the age of 92 he decided that, due to his age, living by himself in the home where he had spent the previous 25 years was no longer realistic. However, a nursing home was not only a threat to his independence, he simply did not need the level of care provided by a nursing home. Luckily, one of the first assisted-living homes in the nation had recently opened in his neighborhood, and he became one of its first residents. For him, assisted living was very similar to moving into a condominium. He could use his own furniture, he had his own entrance,… View Article
By Laura Creasy The Metropolitan Atlanta area continues to display one of the strongest and most diversified economies among major urban centers in the United States. Over the past few years, the Atlanta area has benefited from the growth of manufacturing headquarters, as well as the growth of technology-based industries. Indeed, Metro Atlanta’s high-tech workforce is one of the largest in the southeastern United States, which includes locally based companies such as BellSouth, MindSpring, and Scientific Atlanta, as well as internationally known firms such as Lucent Technologies. However, the area’s vibrant economy has also come at a cost – a population explosion that outpaces roadway capacity. During the past decade, the 13-county Atlanta metro area has grown significantly. More importantly,… View Article
By Michael Light Director, Georgia Parole Board Office of Criminal Justice Research The following article is reprinted with permission from the March 1999 edition of Georgia County Government Magazine, published by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the 85-year-old education, training and legislative advocacy organization of all 159 Georgia county governments. ACCG may be reached on the Web or by writing 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1000, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Today, Georgia stands at a crossroads in its criminal justice history where policymakers and lawmakers must pay careful attention to the thin line between tough laws and smart criminal justice decisions. Over the last ten years Georgia has spent billions to build thousands of new “hard” prison beds while enacting some… View Article
The following article is reprinted with permission from the March 1999 edition of Georgia County Government Magazine, published by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the 85-year-old education, training and legislative advocacy organization of all 159 Georgia county governments. ACCG may be reached on the Web or by writing 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1000, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. In his first budget message over eight years ago, Governor Miller quoted from the old country song, warning us that we could not continue “drinking that new bubble up and eating that rainbow stew.” From that admonition, he carried forward on his plan to reduce state agency spending and therefore the size of state government. Even with his 5% annual redirections and the… View Article

It’s Time to Clean Up the Property Tax Mess

By Jerry R. Griffin, Executive Director Association County Commissioners Of Georgia The following article is reprinted with permission from the March 1999 edition of Georgia County Government Magazine, published by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the 85-year-old education, training and legislative advocacy organization of all 159 Georgia county governments. ACCG may be reached on the Web or by writing 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1000, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Every year hundreds of bills and resolutions are introduced to fix the property tax. So often a bill will focus on a very small section of the law and when examined carefully it is discovered that, rather than fixing a problem, it creates new problems. Part of the problem results from legislators… View Article
Randall W. Duncan, Esq.; John C. Speir, Ph.D.; Tammy S. Meredith, Ph.D. This report demonstrates the value of such research, and the policy questions that can arise from a rational and thorough debate of the many issues emanating from the current controversy. Time is of the essence. Even as the Georgia criminal justice system is showing symptoms of stress during the “best of times” (low unemployment, budget surplus, growing economy, strong tax base), the state is facing specific demo- graphic trends. In particular, the projected population “bulge” of youth in the next ten years, especially those in economically disadvantaged groups, could turn the current decline in crime and threaten the system with another corrections crisis. If an increase in crime… View Article
Steve Langford The rush by many Georgia cities to enter new businesses and expand existing ones, in direct and unfair competition with small and large private companies, poses the primary long-term fiscal challenge to Governor Barnes and the Legislature. Many cities are adding to their traditional services — water, sewer, trash, gas and electric — such new ventures as cable TV, telecommunications, hotels, real estate development, construction services, appliance sales, etc. This alarming trend in local government is the purest form of socialism and is crashing onto the scene at a time when all other levels of government are discovering inefficiencies and privatizing services at a steady pace. The problems with government expansion into these areas are evident: · Government… View Article
By Betsey Weltner At a time when state government is downsizing, privatizing services and deregulating utilities, relieved Georgia taxpayers have a new threat on the horizon — municipal development of telephone, cable and Internet services. The high-tech, high-risk telecommunications industry is no place for local governments to be, but the power of cities to tax and regulate the private industry “competition” has created an uneven playing field in Georgia. Further, while dozens of Georgia cities are either planning or implementing costly telecommunications systems, they are doing so without public approval of any kind. Consider a Georgia statewide poll taken in September 1998 on the subject of municipal “competition” with private telecommunications industries. 500 registered voters across the state were asked… View Article

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U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson more quotes