Category: Issues

News Release | For Immediate Release June 27, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org  (404-256-4050) Foundation ‘Disappointed’ in Supreme Court Ruling on Water Dispute Atlanta – Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, issued this statement in response to today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the water dispute between Florida and Georgia: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is disappointed the Court today declined the opportunity to end this misguided legal assault on Georgia and remanded the case to the Special Master for further proceedings. We agree with Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissent, that the Court already had all the facts it needed to make the central determination in the case: that the meager, speculative benefits Florida… View Article
A Savannah Morning News editorial published on June 22, 2018 warns that teacher pension reform is crucial for teachers and taxpayers. The editorial can be accessed online here and is reprinted in full below. Editorial: Reform teacher pension fund to control school taxes  The tax villains ran roughshod this week, passing increases that will appear across several columns in our fall property tax bills. As is always the case, the public is assigning blame. And, as always, they point to the easy targets, the men and women who hold titles such as manager or superintendent; mayor, chairman or president; or alderman, commissioner or school board rep. The one true scoundrel in our tax chaos, who goes by the initials TRS,… View Article

So What Does a Think Tank Do?

By Rick Larsen Since joining the Sutherland Institute, I am often asked: what exactly is a think tank? A fair question. But more important, perhaps, is this: Are think tanks of benefit to you? Can they assist you in deciding what you think? The Economist explains a think tank best: “Think-tanks aim to fill the gap between academia and policymaking. Academics grind out authoritative studies, but at a snail’s pace. Journalists’ first drafts of history are speedy but thin. A good think-tank helps the policymaking process by publishing reports that are as rigorous as academic research and as accessible as journalism. (Bad ones have a knack of doing just the opposite.)” Think tanks sometimes inform legislators, and sometimes they inform… View Article
By Paul Blair Over the past 18 months, President Trump has taken great strides to fulfill a number of major campaign promises. One major promise was the commitment to help communities harmed by the decline of coal and nuclear energy. To that end, the president recently directed Energy Secretary Rick Perry to prevent retiring coal and nuclear plants from shutting down prematurely. Shortly afterward, a leaked policy document from the National Security Council outlined a number of policy tools that the Department of Energy (DOE) could use to keep the plants afloat. In response, groups across the political spectrum and throughout the energy sector have criticized the administration for “putting its thumb on the scale” for coal and nuclear. Many… View Article

Governor Announces BRT Funding for SR 400

On June 19, 2018, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced $100 million in General Obligation bonds for Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure, part of the SR 400 Express Lanes project. The plan includes four BRT interchanges as part of a $1.8 billion project for express toll lanes up the highway. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has long promoted BRT as a cost-effective alternative to rail. In the Foundation’s Agenda 2002: Guide to the Issues, for example, the Transportation section noted: Traditional train-type transit can be very effective in the downtown ares of certain cities. London, Paris, Tokyo and New York City fit this description. In these densely pupulated cities, rail-based transit provides a high-capacity, convenient transit solution that makes… View Article

School Choice Progress Far from ‘Bad Policy’

By Kyle Wingfield A summertime surprise is roiling the Georgia GOP’s gubernatorial primary. A defeated candidate recently released a recording in which Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he supported a school-choice bill he deemed “bad policy,” merely to prevent a big campaign donation to a rival candidate. Now Cagle, who faces Secretary of State Brian Kemp in next month’s runoff, is on the defensive. Whatever one makes of the politics of it all, was this bill truly “bad” policy? Not in the least. House Bill 217 raised the cap on the state’s popular tuition tax-credit scholarship program to $100 million from $58 million. The program allows donors to non-profits awarding scholarships for private-school tuition to claim a dollar-for-dollar credit against… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Eighty percent of Georgia’s students graduate from high school. What happens to the one in five who don’t? Michael Boggs, now a Georgia Supreme Court Justice, was co-chairman of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform when he remarked that he counted just 34 high school graduates among the first 6,000 criminal defendants he dealt with in felony criminal court in six rural counties. Twenty-five years ago, concerned about a report that declared high school dropouts the greatest domestic threat to national security, U.S. Sens. Sam Nunn of Georgia and John McCain of Arizona formed the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. Today, 40 Youth ChalleNGe Academy programs exist in 27 states and territories, turning around the… View Article

Council’s Misdemeanor Bail Reform Proposals

A summary of the misdemeanor bail reform findings and recommendations from the February 2018 Report of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform (pages 25-39). By Sophia Strickland The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform’s 2018 report delivered to Gov. Nathan Deal in February focused on pretrial justice, especially within misdemeanor bail practices. According to the report: An increasing amount of research is showing the negative consequences of a money-based bail system. Those people who cannot afford bail and therefore incarcerated pretrial could lose their jobs or go into further financial debt or lose their jobs, and then cannot support their families or pay the court-imposed fines or obligations. In fact, studies show that people who are released on bail,… View Article
By Sophia Strickland Reports on the United States’ rapidly increasing incarcerated population have sparked a discussion over bail reform. However, a segment that may not receive as much attention in this area is the pretrial, incarcerated rural population, which has contributed disproportionately to the increasing jailed population in the United States, according to a new report by Right On Crime. Nationwide, the jailed population increased three times its original size between 1970 and 2014  but sevenfold in small counties in the same period. The increase in this rural pretrial jailed group can be partly attributed to an economic incentive for local jails to house other jurisdictions’ inmates for remuneration and the growing opioid crisis with increased related drug arrests… View Article
By Dave Emanuel As the hue and cry for expanded public transit in metro Atlanta reaches a crescendo, many options are being discussed, but chatter about extending heavy rail predominates. You have to wonder why. The only thing lacking in the proposals to expand heavy rail is a specification to use steam locomotives. Add that, and you have the perfect 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem. An outmoded form of transportation at best, heavy rail (defined as rail service elevated, subterranean or otherwise separated from street traffic) is expensive to build, operate and maintain, and inefficient in its use of resources. Consider that a single MARTA passenger car weighs 89,000 pounds and accommodates 64 passengers. Consider, further, that the typical… View Article

To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.

The late W. H. Flowers, Jr., Chairman, Flowers industries, Inc. more quotes