Category: Issues

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

Resistance Grows to Civil Asset Forfeiture

By Ross Coker Ross Coker While the discussion and debate over reform for civil asset forfeiture remain ongoing, most Americans still probably do not even know what it means, much less how it is being wielded by law enforcement. Among the think tanks and policy organizations explaining the concept and grading individual states are The Heritage Foundation and The Institute for Justice. They call it “policing for profit.” In brief, the concept of civil asset forfeiture is that two different burdens are proof are used to determine if an individual is guilty of a crime and to determine if the individual’s property is “guilty” of being used for the crime. This presents the strange legal fiction where a car View Article

Checking Up On Health: September 28, 2016

Health News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Get ready to see pink ribbons everywhere in October. Breast Cancer Month is October, and Breast Cancer Day is celebrated Saturday. Get ready for pink ribbons everywhere during this annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Millions have walked and millions of dollars have been raised in campaigns to fight breast cancer, going to research, education and support efforts. Do you know how the pink ribbon came about? According to the Breast Cancer Action Network: In the early 1990s, 68-year-old Charlotte Haley began making peach ribbons by hand in her home. Her daughter, sister, and grandmother had breast cancer. She distributed thousands of ribbons at supermarkets with… View Article

Reacting to the 2015 FBI Crime Report

By Ross Coker Ross Coker Atlanta – The FBI released its comprehensive report on 2015 crime and crime rates across the nation today (September 26). The report, “Crime in the United States,” highlights some potentially troubling statistics, among them, a 3.1 percent overall increase in the relative overall comparative violent crime rate While this statistic is troubling on its face, there are several crucial points to bear in mind when interpreting the data. First, the rise in crime was relative to the year before. Violent crime has fallen steadily for decades now (and was in fact at half-century record lows) and therefore is more pronounced as an uptick simply because of the low starting point. Furthermore,… View Article

Price Gouging Laws: Good Politics, Bad Economics

Forbes Magazine published a column on September 23, 2016 by Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of economics at the University of Georgia, “Price Gouging Laws Are Good Politics but Bad Economics.” The column is published in its entirety below; access it online here. Price Gouging Laws Are Good Politics but Bad Economics By Jeffrey Dorfman A leak in a gas pipeline in Alabama this week caused a gasoline shortage in several states in the southeastern United States, including my home state of Georgia. Both luckily and unluckily for motorists in Georgia, the state has an anti-price gouging law. These laws, commonly employed by governors to stop price increases after natural disasters, make consumers happy but also stop markets from alleviating… View Article
The Wall Street Journal edition of September 23, 2016,  published an op-ed by Tracie Sharp, head of the State Policy Network (of which the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is a member) and our Darcy Olsen, head of our sister think tank, the Goldwater Institute. It warns against donor disclosure initiatives for nonprofits. The op-ed is published below; access it online at http://www.wsj.com/articles/beware-of-anti-speech-ballot-measures-1474586180. Beware of Anti-Speech Ballot Measures Forcing nonprofits to submit donor lists to government officials is unconstitutional.  By Tracie Sharp and Darcy Olsen When voters in Missouri, South Dakota, Washington and Oregon go to the polls in November, they will vote on ballot measures that are cleverly marketed as legislation aimed at reducing “big money” and “outside influence”… View Article

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Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes