Category: Issues

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
An Oxymoron for 21st Century Atlanta: More Roads Equal Improved Air Quality Laura Creasy The Atlanta Regional Commission recently released its Regional Transportation Plan, which is the region’s transportation blueprint for the next quarter century. Based on land use and transportation policies specified by the federal government, it identifies $36 billion of transportation improvements ¾ 55 percent of which specifically target transit. However, the ARC projects automobiles will represent 97 percent of all trips in 2025, an ironic admission given the substantial transit investment in the plan. In principle, mass transit could improve the region’s air quality, in addition to relieving congestion. However, the automobile provides an irreplaceable convenience that cannot be ignored, as supported by the decline in transit’s… View Article

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage in Georgia

William S. Custer   There are two primary reasons why the number of Georgians without health insurance is an important public policy issue.  First, there is a public health concern that lack of health insurance may result in sicker, less productive individuals.  Second, health care is not denied to those without health insurance. In fact, they consume a considerable amount of health care resources.  The cost of treating the uninsured is borne by taxpayers, by purchasers of private insurance, by providers, and by local communities.  These costs are not distributed efficiently or equitably. The uninsured face a much different process of health care than those with insurance.  They are much less likely to have a usual source of care, more… View Article

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U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell more quotes