Category: Spending

Municipal Broadband Puts Taxpayers’ Wallets at Risk

By Kelly McCutchen For centuries, too-good-to-be-true deals have snagged investors with promises that they can ignore past failures because “this time it will be different.” Peachtree City’s leaders appear to have been told a similar story. The Peachtree City city council approved a resolution last month to build out a government-owned broadband Internet network for municipal buildings and local businesses. The project will require a 10-year, $3.2 million bond issue to pay for the cost of laying fiber optic lines along the right-of-way of the city’s many golf cart paths. For those who don’t know their Georgia geography, Peachtree City is not a small, rural hamlet in the-middle-of-nowhere Georgia with limited broadband Internet access. It is located just 30 miles… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The average Joe’s eyes tend to glaze over when I share that I work at a state-focused free-market think tank. I try again, telling them it’s a public policy research organization. What finally resonates is when I say, as I did this week at the sushi restaurant I frequent, “I work to keep government out of your business: lower taxes and stop interfering in how you run your business.” When that dawned on the server at the restaurant, whose first language clearly isn’t English, a huge smile lit up her face. As I left, she said to me, laughing, “Now, go do your work!” I love my work. It may sound like a highfalutin profession, but… View Article
<img height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=”” style=”display:none” src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?ev=6030221446672&amp;cd[value]=0.00&amp;cd[currency]=USD&amp;noscript=1″ />By Michael LaFaive and Kelly McCutchen Did you know that just three public school districts in the state of Georgia contract out transportation services? More than a third of all conventional pubic school districts in Georgia contract out one of the three major non-instructional services, according to survey data collected this summer by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based research institute. The Mackinac Center survey of Georgia and four other states found that 38 percent of Georgia districts contract out for at least one of the “big three” non-instructional services: food, transportation and custodial services. Done right, contracting out can save money and relieve management headaches, too. But Mackinac found a… View Article

Eva Galambos: Farewell to an Iron Lady of Georgia

Friends: The funeral for Eva Galambos, the first mayor of Sandy Springs, Ga., was Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Eva was a memorable lady; read her official obituary here. I remember the first time I met her. She came by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation to discuss her favorite topic: creating the City of Sandy Springs. Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos joined Leonard Gilroy of the Reason Foundation at the first Georgia Legislative Policy Forum in 2010 for a panel discussion on the privatization and outsourcing of government services. We pushed back, questioning the need to create another layer of government. She maintained that consolidated government typically consolidates at the highest service level. She explained: Imagine, for example, two local… View Article
By Jeffrey Dorfman  JEFFREY DORFMAN Every member of the Georgia Legislature was elected this past November. Thus, one would expect those legislators to hold the citizens who elected them in high esteem; after all, they were wise enough to elect them, right? The next month or so will determine whether those legislators actually trust their voters to make independent decisions in the marketplace or they believe the citizens need to be protected from decisions elected officials don’t think we are capable of making on our own. Two bills before the Legislature demonstrate the choice before these politicians. One would allow craft brewers and brewpubs to actually sell beer for customers to take home; another would allow Tesla to sell cars… View Article
Everyone loves rankings. While it’s very helpful to understand where you rank compared to your peers, it’s also important to make sure the comparisons are valid. When comparing state taxing and spending it’s important to account for two factors: cost of living and differences in state and local government roles. The cost of living in California, for example, is higher than in Georgia, so the salary for a similar government job will usually be higher in California. Therefore, comparing per capita spending between states can be misleading. This is why economists often prefer to compare spending as a percentage of state personal income. Combining state and local data is also important because some states, like Georgia, are very decentralized, with… View Article
A bill introduced this month would modernize Georgia teachers’ pensions to be more in line with private-sector retirement plans. The proposal is modeled after the successful reform of Georgia’s pension plan for new state employees 7 years ago. Senate Bill 152, sponsored by Sen. Hunter Hill, would only apply to teachers hired after January 1, 2017.  These newly hired teachers would automatically be enrolled in a hybrid pension plan that combines a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k) plan, with a smaller traditional defined benefit component. This is exactly what happened with state employees in 2008 in response to a survey showing that state employees under age 30 earning less than $35,000 annually – who made up the… View Article

Transportation Funding Matters: February 18

EVENT INVITATION January 27, 2015 Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org Foundation Tackles Transportation Funding at Feb. 18 Event Atlanta – The hot-button discussion has gone on for months: How will Georgia relieve traffic congestion and improve mobility, and what does the state need to do it? Is it more roads, more transit, more taxes or more options? Find out at, “Transportation Money Matters,” the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast on Wednesday, February 18, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The participants in this panel discussion are Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen and Baruch Feigenbaum, transportation analyst with the Reason Foundation. This Leadership Breakfast, which is open to the public, is $30 to… View Article

Day 38 Update: Foster Care Reform Bills Remain in Limbo

(Update:  Thursday morning the Senate Health & Human Services Committee chaired by Sen. Renee Unterman briefly considered attaching the SB 350 version of foster care reform to HB 990, the House bill that would require legislative approval to change Medicaid eligibility.  The discussion was short.  “I support the foster care bill that we passed and I am disappointed that the House hasn’t taken it up on their side,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, who then quashed the proposal to combine SB 350 with HB 990.  “I would urge that we continue to find other vehicles for foster care,” Shafer added.  No House or Senate votes on foster care legislation are anticipated today, which is Day 38 on the… View Article

The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)

Governor Nathan Deal more quotes