Category: Issues

We Need Axes, Not Taxes

By Kelly McCutchen Governor Sonny Perdue gave his first Budget Address this week. It is a speech that no governor likes to give, and one he certainly hopes not to give again. The new administration barely had time to clean up the confetti after its historic victory party in November before finding themselves in the middle of an historic budget crisis. The news was bad. For the first time in 50 years, state revenue collections were less than the previous year – easily the worst budget crisis in the modern era. In his budget address, the governor outlined a plan of budget cuts in some areas, tapping a portion of the state’s “rainy day fund” and a package of fee… View Article
By Chris Carr Right or wrong, needed or unneeded, government regulates commerce all of the time. Government will mandate, for instance, how much pollution may be released into the air, how many handicapped spaces must be included in a parking lot at a shopping center and whether warning labels must be used on particular products. Usually, these regulations do not cross the line into micromanaging private industry. Typically, politicians have not dared to tread into the realm of telling a business how it should operate and what it will or won’t sell. Apparently, the DeKalb County Commission doesn’t play by these time-honored rules. They recently stepped over the line by banning smoking in the private sector and began a new… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen People love trivia, so here’s a test: Describe the boundaries of your U.S. congressional district, as well as your Georgia House and Senate district. No clue? Don’t feel bad; outside of political operatives that keep district maps on their Palm Pilot, few people can pass the test. That’s why the biggest surprise for many voters on Election Day was not finding out the results of the election after they voted, but discovering what district they were in when they entered the voting booth. It’s bad enough that most voters can’t identify their elected officials, as Jay Leno so often points out with his “man on the street” interviews. But by creating these irregular shapes that we call… View Article
By Morgan Smith I. Summary In 2001, the Georgia Legislature convened a Study Committee in the House of Representatives to examine complaints raised by the state’s alcohol retailers about some businesses practices on the part of alcohol wholesalers. The subsequent examination of the state’s regulation of the alcohol distribution industry brought to light serious questions about the structure and value of economic protections provided to the wholesalers. It is widely accepted that state regulation of alcohol distribution is an important and necessary undertaking. But it is also clear that some elements of Georgia’s regulatory policy haven’t kept pace with changes in both the industry’s participants and the shape of the marketplace. As with all instances of state intervention in “special”… View Article

Central Education Center: A Model for the Future

By Dr. Holly A. Robinson Imagine a high school where students learn real-world work skills – and are prepared for real jobs in real, local businesses. Imagine a school where bank presidents and corporate board members come to speak to students. Where youngsters get lessons tailored to fit the needs of local industry. Where businesses team up with educators. Where students full of enthusiasm and hope triumphantly receive the first A’s they’ve ever gotten in their lives. Where civic leaders, business execs, school officials – even the local technical college, band together to ensure that a school – a charter school – helps to meet the needs of local businesses and local young people seeking jobs and careers. Impossible? Pie-in-the-sky?… View Article

SyncTrans: A Vision for the Future of Mass Transit

By William V. McRae July 23, 2001 Foreword The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has focused much effort in recent years on sorting out the facts and identifying realistic solutions to Metro Atlanta’s transportation and air quality challenges. We have been quite skeptical of solutions based on light and heavy rail because very reliable data indicates that these modes of transportation will have little impact on traffic congestion and air quality because they do not attract a significant number of people out of their cars. For mass transit to entice drivers out of their cars, it must satisfy consumer demands. In other words, mass transit needs a better product. Despite these facts, the Metro Atlanta area seems intent upon building more … View Article
Wendell Cox Introduction The Oregon portion of the Portland metropolitan area1  has adopted the nation’s strongest so-called “smart growth” policies. Metro, the regional government, has adopted a wide range of policies to fight what is pejoratively referred to as urban sprawl and restrict the expansion of the developed (urbanized) area. Smart growth is also referred to asurban containment. Strategies include an urban growth boundary (UGB), that forbids most urban development on the outside, incentives for “infill” development in older areas, and other measures to increase population densities, especially along corridors served by public transit. Moreover, Metro’s policies are generally opposed to the expansion of highways, and the area has constructed a light rail system that provides services from… View Article
Jefferson G. Edgens Agriculture, forestry and construction activities have a bull’s-eye painted on them! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one could say, has farmers, landowners and carpenters in their regulatory crosshairs. What have these sectors of Georgia’s economy done to deserve EPA’s wrath? According to flimsy water quality reports, they are accused of polluting Georgia’s waterways. Environmental activists have used lawsuits to drive a dubious argument in the guise of cleaner water based on these reports. At the heart of the matter are “pollution caps.” Quite simply, these pollution caps set an upper limit on the amount of pollution allowed in a water body. At first blush, this sounds like a noble idea, but when the science is examined, much… View Article

Deregulation Not to Blame for High Gas Bills

By Shawn Davis Deregulation in the natural gas industry has been an easy target for the media and public policy leaders since legislation introduced competition in the Atlanta Gas Light Company territory in 1997. This sentiment is understandable. Gas marketers have had difficulty getting billing under control, and high gas bills are giving consumers sticker shock, prompting them to complain to the Public Service Commission (PSC), the General Assembly and anyone who will listen. Many consumers have blamed deregulation for the high bills. But the culprit is not deregulation, the PSC or lawmakers. Everyone in the country is feeling the impact of higher prices. If something is to blame, it is the weather’s influence on the guiding principle upon which… View Article

The Myth of Smart Growth

Hans A. von Spakovsky For decades, Atlanta has been one of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas, and the Atlanta region is projected to have 4.8 million residents by 2025. Atlanta is a comparatively low-density urban area with only one-third the density of the densest urbanized area in the nation. More than 97 percent of travel in the Atlanta region is by personal vehicles, and in the last decade traffic volumes have risen 3.7 times faster than the rate of roadway expansion. Traffic congestion has become severe and the region is out of attainment with federal air-quality standards, causing the federal government to refuse to release transportation funding. The Atlanta Regional Commission’s new Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), the transportation blueprint for… View Article

As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes