Category: Regulation

By Chris Carr Right or wrong, needed or unneeded, government regulates commerce all of the time. Government will mandate, for instance, how much pollution may be released into the air, how many handicapped spaces must be included in a parking lot at a shopping center and whether warning labels must be used on particular products. Usually, these regulations do not cross the line into micromanaging private industry. Typically, politicians have not dared to tread into the realm of telling a business how it should operate and what it will or won’t sell. Apparently, the DeKalb County Commission doesn’t play by these time-honored rules. They recently stepped over the line by banning smoking in the private sector and began a new… 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

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

Sales Taxes and the E-Commerce Revolution

Hans A. von Spakovsky Elected officials in Georgia and throughout the country have been expressing their concern over the possible loss of state sales tax revenues as e-commerce grows on the Internet. Georgia State Revenue Commissioner Jerry Jackson told a joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees that Internet commerce represents a future threat to state revenue and that “[a]t some point [it] will begin to have a major impact on sales tax collections.”1  Proponents of taxing Internet commerce believe that online sales are a substitute for “bricks and mortar” retail sales and that state sales tax receipts will decline as e-commerce increases. They also claim that exempting e-commerce from sales taxes is “unfair” to other retail… View Article

Milking the Consumer

By E. Frank Stephenson The following article originally appeared in the July 1999 issue of the Georgia Policy Review. E. Frank Stephenson is assistant professor of economics, Campbell School of Business, Berry College, Mount Berry, GA. Any opinions expressed herein are his own, and do not necessarily represent those of Berry College. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Berry College operates a small dairy. In its 1999 session, the Georgia General Assembly again passed legislation authorizing Georgia to join the proposed Southeastern Dairy Compact. Gov. Barnes, unlike his predecessor Zell Miller, signed the authorization into law thereby entering Georgia into the dairy compact. (Federal legislation is still required for the compact to become operative, but… View Article

Consumer Beware

Kelly McCutchen In her recent book, The Future and its Enemies, Virginia Postrel recounts the story of a visitor to a small Georgia town who set out to trap some wild pigs. Many others had tried to trap these pigs unsuccessfully, but this newcomer had a unique approach. First, he placed some food in a clearing near the pigs. For days the pigs ignored the food. Finally, after one pig curiously tasted the food, the others joined in. The man restocked the food every day. Before long, the pigs quit foraging and became dependent upon the food in the clearing. He slowly began erecting a fence, carefully leaving several openings for the pigs to go in and out. Several weeks… View Article
Steve Langford The rush by many Georgia cities to enter new businesses and expand existing ones, in direct and unfair competition with small and large private companies, poses the primary long-term fiscal challenge to Governor Barnes and the Legislature. Many cities are adding to their traditional services — water, sewer, trash, gas and electric — such new ventures as cable TV, telecommunications, hotels, real estate development, construction services, appliance sales, etc. This alarming trend in local government is the purest form of socialism and is crashing onto the scene at a time when all other levels of government are discovering inefficiencies and privatizing services at a steady pace. The problems with government expansion into these areas are evident: · Government… View Article
By Betsey Weltner At a time when state government is downsizing, privatizing services and deregulating utilities, relieved Georgia taxpayers have a new threat on the horizon — municipal development of telephone, cable and Internet services. The high-tech, high-risk telecommunications industry is no place for local governments to be, but the power of cities to tax and regulate the private industry “competition” has created an uneven playing field in Georgia. Further, while dozens of Georgia cities are either planning or implementing costly telecommunications systems, they are doing so without public approval of any kind. Consider a Georgia statewide poll taken in September 1998 on the subject of municipal “competition” with private telecommunications industries. 500 registered voters across the state were asked… 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
William H. Read and Mark H. Read  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY From software development to telemedicine to broadcasting, many Georgia industries depend on the state’s telecommunications infrastructure. In addition, the telecommunications industry itself already employs some 50,000 professionals in Georgia. These high-paying jobs in growing, dynamic industries are exactly the kinds of jobs that will determine Georgia’s economic future. Telecommunications deregulation will allow Georgia to build upon this solid base, enhance its infrastructure and create jobs. Taking the lead in creating a competitive telecommunications marketplace could prove to be the state’s best economic decision since the construction of Hartsfield International Airport. The primary question being debated today is not whether the local market should be opened, but when and how? The main… View Article

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