Category: The Forum

By Evgenia Sidorova  The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia alarmed legislators and stakeholders when it requested over $588 million in increased contributions in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions combined, largely the result of missed actuarial assumptions. Given such a steep rise, the relatively small $25 million budget increase requested for 2019 may have signaled to some that things might be turning around for the troubled pension plan. But this would be mistaken, according to a new report published by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation that finds the Georgia TRS has several shortcomings that could further degrade its long-run solvency. The pension system currently has $24.8 billion in unfunded pension liabilities,… View Article

Friday Facts: October 12, 2018

It’s Friday! Quotes of note “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass “This is a free country, and people are free to believe anything they wish. But life in this country will grow steadily less free if fundamental elements of fairness, like the presumption of innocence, are simply jettisoned when an accusation is made by someone who says with seeming sincerity that she was sexually assaulted. Or when a serious accusation is made against someone who happens to belong to a disfavored group.” – Jeff View Article

Medicaid Expansion, ‘Free’ Money That Costs a Lot

By Dave Emanuel “The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for Medicaid expansion through 2016. After that, it will drop to 90 percent by 2020.” How can you beat a deal like that? Apparently, policymakers in 33 states don’t think you can. They have expanded Medicaid coverage under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for Medicaid expansion, virtually anyone with annual earnings at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible. What is left unsaid is that it is anybody’s guess what options are available to a Medicaid recipient whose income rises to 139 percent of the qualifying level. Consequently, the specter of losing coverage or having… View Article

Friday Facts: October 5, 2018

It’s Friday! Quotes of note “The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that.” – John Adams “Ultimately, faculty members have to remember that while our own research, service, and activism are important to us, our institutions exist to educate students and to help them to achieve their ambitions, not our own.” – Joseph Watson Elections Register: Georgians who plan to vote in… View Article

Friday Facts: September 28, 2018

It’s Friday! Subscribe to the Friday Facts here. Support the Foundation and its mission here. Quotes of note “The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy.” – Benjamin Franklin “As all procrastinators know, the longer you delay what you should be doing – and the closer to the deadline you let yourself go – the sloppier the final product will be, the more opportunities you’ll miss and the less you’ll be able to meet your goals. Now Congress finds… View Article

Georgia Benefits from Nuclear Plant Expansion

By Steven Biegalski The nuclear reactor expansion project at Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, near Augusta, has been plagued by troubles: Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy, construction delays and cost overruns. Fortunately, completion of the project is still commercially viable. Moreover, it will have numerous benefits to the citizens of Georgia and to the nation as a whole. The price tag for Vogtle Units 3 and 4 has ballooned. As a reminder, costs also soared for Vogtle’s Units 1 and 2, initially estimated at $1 billion and ending up costing about $9 billion during an extended construction period of about 13 years. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy led to the scuttling of a similar project in South Carolina last year. Given the three-decade gap in U.S.… View Article

Georgia’s Teachers Retirement System

Georgia TRS: Historic Solvency Analysis and Prospects for The Future  By Jen Sidorova and Anil Niraula Project Directors: Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation Kyle Wingfield, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) surprised many during the 2017 legislative session by requesting an additional $223.9 million in annual funding, then did so again in 2018, requiring an additional $364.9 million in contributions. The nearly $600 million in annual increases to teacher pension funding have been necessary in large part because of growing unfunded liabilities – colloquially known as pension debt – which were reported at $23.6 billion in 2016. Since then the debt has grown to $24.8 billion, but in contrast with previous years TRS requested a relatively… View Article

FBI Releases 2017 Uniform Crime Report

(September 24, 2018): The FBI has  released its Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2017, a compilation of the volume and rate of violent and property crime offenses for the nation and by state. In Georgia, violent crime declined 8.5 percent overall in 2017 compared to 2016, but the murder rate was up nearly 2 percent. Some Georgia details from the FBI database: Violent  crimes declined 8.5 percent Rape crimes declined 20.5 percent Robbery declined 18 percent Aggravated assault declined 2.3 percent Property crime declined 4 percent The murder rate increased 1.9 percent Among Georgia’s metro areas, Albany had the highest rates of violent crime, murder and aggravated assault. Columbus was worst for rape and robbery. Macon was worst… View Article

Friday Facts: September 21, 2018

It’s Friday! Subscribe to the Friday Facts here. Support the Foundation and its mission here. Quotes of note “Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state.” – George Mason (1788) “The ability to respectfully deliberate, discuss and disagree – to model the behavior on display in Independence Hall – has been lost in too many places. Some are quick to blame a “tribalization” of America where groupthink reigns. Others point to the rise of social media where, under the cloak of anonymity, sarcasm and disdain dominate. Certainly, none of that improves our discourse. But I think the issue is more fundamental… View Article
By Harold Brown A year ago this month, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Apportioning blame and credit for the island’s recovery is almost beside the point. That has been complicated not only by the physical, economic and social destruction caused by Maria but by economic and demographic problems beginning long before the hurricane hit. Puerto Rico is one of the few places in the world where population is in a steep decline (see chart). For 2017, the CIA World Factbook lists it second from the bottom out of 234 countries for population growth. According to the Census, the population increased until 2004, then declined, reaching the lowest population in three decades last year. The… View Article

“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.

State Senator Eric Johnson, President pro tempore, Georgia State Senate more quotes