Category: Regulation

Hot Air Rises with Natural Gas Prices

By Benita M. Dodd Hindsight being 20/20, the critics who back in 1997 were doomsaying the deregulation of Georgia’s natural gas market are back again, gleefully pointing to high energy bills as a reason to return to the good old days when energy was “cheap” under the watchful reins of Big Brother.   “When we deregulated natural gas we were told … that it was going to spur competition and that the competition was going to lower the gas [prices],” Democratic state Rep. Georganna Sinkfield complained recently as the House debated legislation involving a new liquid natural gas pipeline. “And therefore our consumers would be so much better off.” “We found that just the opposite happened and we found that our… View Article
By Dudley Rochelle and Jack Lambremont Some labor organizations see a conspiracy in calls to create safeguards that would prevent unions in Georgia from improperly using their members’ dues to fund political activity. But it is merely common sense to require labor organizations not covered by federal labor laws to set up separate funds for political purposes – and to ensure there are aboveboard methods by which those labor organizations may solicit contributions for political use.  So why is it common sense for unions to support such protections? Union membership is declining in Georgia, judging by numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics. In 2003, union membership was 249,000 strong, or 6.7 percent of the work force;… View Article

UPS President Brings Home Outsourcing Debate

By David Abney (Excerpts from the UPS International president’s keynote address to the Southern Growth Policies Board on June 13, 2004.) This is an election year. So, of course, jobs are front-page news. Many of these stories remind us that American companies have outsourced jobs overseas, and that globalization is responsible. What could be so bad, then, about taking steps that will limit trade, if these steps can protect the erosion of American jobs? At the most basic level, that interferes with a process history tells us is human nature. Trading is as natural as communicating. In the l9th century, technology advances in ocean steamships and the intercontinental railway opened new territories and U.S. state markets to trade. And prosperity… View Article

DNR Stay Rule Could Encourage Growth To Go

By Benita Dodd After two years of planning, Gadget & Gizmo Inc. is eager to set up its Southeast regional headquarters in Georgia. All that stands in the way is the air emissions permit it needs from the state Environmental Protection Division. And a little hiccup called the Stay Rule, which essentially gives any third party that appeals the permit within 30 days the ability to hinder the company’s plans indefinitely. Jack Smith, a farmer in Carroll County, has applied for a water withdrawal permit. He needs the permit in time to get his irrigation system installed in order to obtain a bank loan next year based on the anticipated harvest value. “If that permit is issued but there is… View Article

Forcing Firms To Keep Jobs Stateside Could Hurt Georgia

By Benita Dodd Efforts to thwart outsourcing of jobs and services abroad have reached at least 14 states, including Georgia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. While well intended, legislation that forces jobs to remain in the United States will prove a shortsighted attempt at micromanagement that backfires on government, policymakers and ordinary Georgians.It’s difficult to spot the silver lining when blinded by outrage over American jobs “lost” offshore, but greater harm is done at home when we hinder business from seeking cost-effective options abroad. When U.S. companies site jobs abroad, they do so to save money and improve profits. Such cost efficiency leads to American jobs saved, not lost. The lower cost of doing business is a… View Article
By Steve Pociask Bankruptcies and layoffs have become commonplace in the information technology sector, particularly for telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers.  The apparent downturn comes despite the promise of deregulation and increased competition that were to bring significant consumer benefits.   At one time it appeared that competition might slowly replace regulation.  Starting with the divestiture of AT&T, competition emerged with the entry of long distance, wireless and cable TV providers, which invested in network infrastructure and vended their services to the public.  Regulators adopted simple price adjustment formulae for local telephone services as a means to automate rate changes, thereby eliminating costly and time-consuming regulatory proceedings, as well as allowing incentives for efficient investment.  The Internet was commercialized with… View Article

Broadband Access in Georgia

By Morgan Smith  Summary Increasingly, Georgia residents and businesses rely on the Internet as a tool for communication, information, commerce and entertainment.  Internet usage has become a common feature of everyday life, and the growing demand for higher speed access – “broadband” service – is one visible indicator of the Internet’s enormous popularity. Recognizing these trends, both state and local officials frequently emphasize the importance of making broadband available to all areas and populations within the state.  In the abstract, public sector initiatives to expand broadband service seem well-intentioned.  Gaps in access can create explicit and implicit costs for individual consumers and communities as a whole. But such programs should accurately assess the true magnitude of current service shortfalls, particularly… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen If you owned stock in telecom companies last year, you probably learned a lesson about the risks of investing in the technology sector. These risks point to the need for caution as residents and leaders of Lowndes County review recent proposals for local government to enter the technology business. Much of the support for the proposed Valdosta Telecommunications Network (VTN) is based on a concern for high prices, particularly for broadband (techno-speak for fast) Internet service. An article in the Valdosta Daily Times reported that Lowndes County residents and businesses would save more than $80 million by entering the telecom business based on a recent study. This sounds enticing, but residents would be wise to remember the… View Article

How New Car Dealers Put the Brakes on Competition

By Morgan Smith I.          Summary It has been four years since Georgia legislators enacted broad changes to the state laws that regulate the relationship between auto dealers and car manufacturers. The changes have created significant benefits for auto dealers by insulating them from new forms of competition – such as direct sales to consumers from car manufacturers and online retailers. The new rules also expanded some existing protections that restrict how car manufacturers can interact with dealers in key aspects of their business. Georgia’s 1999 regulations have created a less competitive market environment, which imposes excess costs on consumers, car manufacturers and online retail competitors. The expanded restraints – such as the prohibition on non-dealer sales and strict relevant market… View Article
By Morgan Smith Trudging from dealership to dealership to kick the tires on the new car you’re thinking about buying is nothing new for Georgians. Even in the facilitating age of the Internet, the Georgian whose heart is set on that Toyota Camry or VW Jetta still must do a lot of driving around town to check out dealers’ competing offers. Ever wondered why? It’s called “Relevant Market Area” or RMA. No matter how populated the area, whether it be crowded metro Atlanta or little Statesboro, Georgia’s established new-car dealers have wangled a little-known law that allows them to prevent any same-brand competitor from setting up shop within eight miles in any direction of an existing dealership. And if that… View Article

Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2015) more quotes