Category: Issues

By Daniel Sperling and Steven Polzin This commentary is based on, “Three Revolutions: Steering Automated, Shared, and Electric Vehicles to a Better Future,” by Daniel Sperling, published February 2018 (Island Press) Bad news for transit keeps rolling in. Transit ridership declined in 34 of the 40 largest metropolitan areas over the past three years. New York’s subway woes continue, Washington Metro struggles with funding and maintenance and, even in Los Angeles with its massive rail system buildout supported by $120 billion in tax increases over 40 years, ridership is declining. Explanations for declining ridership include low gasoline prices, economic growth, increasing car ownership, immigrants’ fear of using transit, homeless loitering, and safety and security concerns.  While ridership routinely… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The average Georgian has never been under the Gold Dome. Many have vague memories of a two-headed calf on display during a State Capitol school field trip. For most Georgians, the closest they get to the General Assembly is their legislator’s local townhall meeting or, if they are really interested, watching legislators in action online. For this reason, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation marks Sunshine Week. In its 18th year and celebrated March 11-17 this year, the event highlights government transparency and access to public information. Transparency is the reason the Foundation has campaigned for years to have elected officials and local government share more data online, accessible to ordinary, working Georgians and the watchdog… View Article

Time is On Our Side in Transforming Georgia Transit

By Baruch Feigenbaum The Georgia General Assembly deserves praise for working to improve transit in Georgia. Two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate, focus on the funding and structure of Georgia’s transit systems. Both bills would create a regional board to oversee transit in 13 metro Atlanta counties, allowing the counties to impose sales taxes for transit projects if approved by voters. The regional board would approve the project lists for any county transit referendum but the taxes could only be spent in the county in which they are raised. Metro Atlanta commuters often live and work in different communities, making an oversight board critical. Many regions, including Denver and Washington D.C., have boards that help… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Crossover Day, day 28 of Georgia’s legislative session, is the deadline by which legislation must pass out of one chamber into the next in order to have a chance at becoming law. The Georgia House ended its Crossover Day past the midnight hour Thursday. Among the casualties was legislation to establish education savings accounts. This mechanism would have allowed parents to spend their child’s state public education dollars on a menu of pre-approved education services, including private school and tutoring expenses. Not even an amendment to restrict the program to one quarter of 1 percent of the Georgia’s public school enrollment – fewer than 4,500 students – would sway opponents. The Department of Audits and Accounts… View Article

Move Transit Policy in the Right Direction

By Benita M. Dodd When the CEO of the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority resigned last year, he left MARTA in a good place. The agency was in the black. A new 40-year, $2.5 billion transportation sales tax had been passed. Clayton County bus service had been added to the system. Big plans were in the works with the new money: Expand the struggling Streetcar system. Expand heavy rail into Clayton County. Expand rail in the Emory corridor. Expand heavy rail along Georgia 400 to Alpharetta. Add bus rapid transit. Add buses. With the money part in place, now comes the heavy lifting. Keith Parker has moved on, and before the dream became reality. Legislation currently under consideration is intended… View Article
This event was held on February 20, 2018 and featured a panel with Len Gilroy, Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project and  Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, and Georgia State Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Chairman of the Georgia House Budget and Fiscal Oversight Committee. The presentation may be downloaded here: PDF file View Article

Patients Deserve the Right to Shop

By Kelly McCutchen and Josh Archambault Georgia families face some of the biggest increases in health care premiums in the country this year. For many families, health care is rapidly becoming unaffordable – a necessity that is becoming a luxury. Candidates running for Governor and the Legislature would be wise to take note of other states’ successes in granting patients the right to shop for health care to lower health care costs. Data show that the primary reason premiums are going up is the escalating costs of treatments and procedures. Consumers’ deductibles and copays are going up, too. In other words, patients are paying more but getting less. At a time when the internet is making more and more information… View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release February 13, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Foundation Hosts February 20 Event on Georgia Teacher Pension Reform Atlanta – In 2017, Georgia’s budget included $223 million for the Teacher Retirement System to improve its financial security. This year, Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget includes another $361.7 million to prop up the pension fund for Georgia teachers.  Why is this happening? How much longer will Georgia taxpayers have to pump money into the TRS?  More important, what assurances do Georgia teachers entering the profession have that their benefits will be there when they retire? Find out more at “Pension Solvency and Public Education: The Case for Reforming Georgia Teacher Pensions,”… View Article
By Jerry Madden Criminal justice reform may wind up being the most significant conservative policy change in Washington this year. That may sound surprising to some, but not to anyone who has been watching this movement in conservative states over the last decade. Starting in Texas, conservatives of all stripes – fiscal, social, constitutional, or otherwise – have found favor with reforms to the criminal justice system that focus on increasing public safety and cutting costs to taxpayers. This is, seemingly, a very commonsense goal. But take a look at how most states and the federal government operate and you will find that well-functioning, well-focused systems are far from the norm. The results are undeniable: Texas has lowered its overall… View Article

Restoring the Dignity of Work

By Drew Ferguson  The American dream is our nation’s most enduring promise. But, too many people are struggling to turn the American dream into a reality. After my hometown and the surrounding area lost its manufacturing jobs, I watched family, friends and neighbors live through this scenario. Many came back from that, but others in the Third District of Georgia still live a different story. For the first time in generations, more people in the area moved into poverty than into the middle class. As this persists in some areas, failing schools, broken neighborhoods and loss of hope take hold. The dignity of work is replaced by the indignity of dependence. The once tightly woven fabric of the community is … View Article

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes