Category: Issues

Barbara M. Edwards Fiscal Research Program School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University Executive Summary The individual income tax generated over 45 percent of Georgia’s 1997 tax revenue, making it the largest single source of revenue for the state. While there are differences across states in the structure of income taxes, Georgia’s income tax is typical of the 41 states that levy an income tax on a broad definition of income. Georgia bases its tax on the federal adjusted gross income, as do most other states, and has deductions, exemptions and a rate structure that are consistent with other states. There have been various calls for changes in the state income tax, largely driven by a desire to reduce taxes.… View Article
John G. Malcolm Introduction Long before I was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, which oversees the entire Grady Health System (hereinafter referred to as “Grady”), I had heard and read, in essence, that Grady hemorrhages money, that it was inefficiently run and mismanaged, and that it was a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. However, in a recently-conducted Strategic Opportunity Assessment, APM Management Consultants, an internationally-recognized health care consulting firm, found that Grady “is relatively efficient on a cost per ad- justed discharge basis compared to national and regional institutions” and “very efficient from a clinical utilization perspective.” In other words, APM found that the opportunity to reduce the length of stay of the average… View Article

Should the Corporate Income Tax be Repealed?

By Martin F. Grace Georgia, like most of her sister states, has a corporate income tax. The corporate income tax was first introduced in Georgia in 1929. The rate has always been a flat proportional rate, fluctuating up and down during the years within the range of 4 percent and 7.5 percent. The present rate of 6 percent has not changed since 1969. The corporate franchise tax, levied on net worth, is administered in conjunction with the corporate income tax. In 1997, these two taxes constituted approximately 6.91 percent of the state’s tax revenues. However, this percentage fluctuates from year to year and has decreased over the past number of years. In 1997, corporations paid $729.5 million in these two… View Article
By Congressman Bob Barr (7th District, Georgia) With increasing and troubling frequency, an article will appear in the newspaper about a judgment for punitive damages in a financial dispute that is completely out of proportion to the actual dollars at stake in the underlying dispute. Perhaps it will trigger a casual shake of the head in amazement and disbelief over the essential arbitrariness of courts and juries in such cases. For me, however, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, these stories are further proof of the need for the Congress to take action to bring a sense of balance and proportion to an important component of the nation’s civil justice system. One of the most recent, and most… View Article
Dr. Kenneth Green Director of Environmental Program Reason Public Policy Institute Executive Summary On the brink of a new century, Georgia carries with it a 20-year-old problem: ozone levels that exceed federal air quality standards. Ground-level ozone is an air pollutant implicated in causing sickness and premature death via aggravation of a variety of lung disorders such as asthma and emphysema. As a result, innovative and cost-effective solutions to high ozone levels are in demand throughout the country, and Georgia is no exception. Metro Atlanta currently faces the greatest ozone-reduction challenge. Moreover, this pollutant respects no boundaries — 13 of Metro Atlanta’s 21 counties are “serious” nonattainment areas as classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The current ozone… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen As has been well reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta’s next mayor faces a ticking time bomb – the city’s water and sewer system. Due to years of neglect and poor design, raw sewage continues to flow into Atlanta’s rivers and streams, polluting the waterways for both Atlanta citizens and Georgians living downstream. Even more frightening is the recent finding that the city’s drinking water is at risk of contamination. In addition, the lack of sewer capacity threatens to freeze economic growth – growth that is crucial to Atlanta’s and Georgia’s future. Where is the public outrage? Where is the Sierra Club? If the Dow Chemical Company had flagrantly dumped more than two million of gallons of… View Article

Mugged by Reality

Eight Lessons We’ve Learned About the Epidemic of Crime and What to Do About it Eugene H. Methvin In the 30 years since Congress first established a federal agency for the study of crime, we have spent millions of dollars on criminological studies. That investment is finally bearing fruit. Aided by powerful new computers crunching reams of data, social scientists have learned a lot about criminal careers, how they develop, and how society can thwart them. The most serious offenders against people and property in this country generally hit their criminal peak between 16 and 18 years of age. The hard-core young thug-to-be starts stealing from mama’s purse before he’s 10. By the fourth and fifth grades, he is skipping… View Article
Dr. Steve Morse Introduction and Background The purpose of this report is to evaluate the progress of the Atlanta Empowerment Zone program and its results after two and one-half years of operation. Congress authorized federal funding of Empowerment Zones on August 10, 1993. On December 21, 1994, Atlanta’s Empowerment Zone application and strategic plan titled “Creating an Urban Village” was chosen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as one of six cities to be awarded Empowerment Zone (EZ) designation and $250 million ($100 million in federal cash grants and $150 million in job tax incentives) to revitalize Atlanta’s poorest neighborhoods. The information collected for this report was derived from performance reviews by a variety of groups… View Article
By Greg Smith, Esq. The following article originally appeared in the August 1997 issue of the Georgia Policy Review. Reprinted with permission from the American Legislative Exchange Council. On May 30 the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) National Task Force on Commerce and Economic Development adopted the model Public Employees’ Portable Retirement Option Act (PRO). The new model bill could not only revolutionize the structure of public employee pension funds, but may also pave the way for privatization of the nation’s Social Security system. In most states, public employees are promised specific benefits upon retirement based on their previous earnings and term of service. However, such defined benefit plans are now recognized as old-fashioned and inconsistent with the needs of… View Article
By Cameron Meierhoefer and Melissa Kelman Since the passage of the 1992 Energy Policy Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been laying the federal groundwork for deregulated wholesale competition in the electric power industry across the country. At the same time, states across the nation have begun evaluating retail competition, where individual customers can directly benefit from competitive pricing. In an effort to protect their regional monopolies, a number of utilities have warned that market forces cannot protect the public and ensure reliable service to meet all future demand. Yet, industrial users and local economic development authorities have supported careful deregulation as a safe and effective way to achieve lower electricity prices. As a consequence, state governments across… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.

Former Georgia Senate Minority Leader Chuck Clay more quotes