Category: Commentaries

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 BARUCH FEIGENBAUMTransportation AnalystReason Foundation 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.,… 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 A massive expansion of the Streetcar System is envisioned. The cost of the current 2.7-mile loop, originally projected at less than $70 million, was (at last report) around $100 million. 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.… 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
By Jerry Madden 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… View Article

Restoring the Dignity of Work

By Drew Ferguson  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… View Article

College Fees: Sticker Shock for Georgia Families

By Lee Brewer Jones Lee Brewer Jones With revenue and spending contingent on the new tax law, the uncertain future of PeachCare funding (Georgia’s CHIP), and the possibility Georgia may spend on tax incentives aimed at luring Amazon’s new headquarters, it’s no surprise Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget of $26 billion has been described as “very fluid.” In education, state budget “austerity cuts” during the Great Recession a decade ago resulted in an Institutional Fee, “a general-purchase fee charged system wide by the University System Board of Regents at all ‘teaching’ institutions.” The University of Georgia notes that the purpose of the fee, implemented in 2009, was “to ensure continued academic excellence during times of reduction in state… View Article
By Ben Scafidi Georgia could have a system of universal educational choice beginning in the fall of 2020, enabling families to choose the schools and non-school education services they deem best for their children and enabling educators to offer their best versions of school and other educational services to the public. The system is outlined in my new study, “Georgia 2020: Educational Choice for All K-12 Students,” unveiled on January 23 to coincide with National School Choice Week. I base the recommendations on logic, experience and the systemic evidence from Arizona, the state with the most educational choice in the nation. Georgia 2020 would provide students annually with $5,000 universal education savings accounts (ESAs) increase to $150 million… View Article

Lawmakers Have Some Unfinished Business on the Table

By Benita M. Dodd Part two of Georgia’s two-year legislative session is under way. Weather delays notwithstanding, campaign fundraising for this year’s elections is on legislators’ minds so expect a quick 40 days. The governor announced January 10 that he would call a special session if Georgia became a finalist in online behemoth Amazon’s search for its next headquarters. On January 18, Atlanta became one of 20 candidates (out of 238 applicants) that made the first cut. Before legislators rush off, however, there is some important unfinished business on the table since 2017.  Education legislation held over, especially, needs attention. Last year, legislators approved providing grants of $100,000 to fund facilities for public charter schools, which often struggle to pay… View Article

Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle more quotes