Category: Commentaries

Georgia Public Policy Foundation News Release For Immediate Release February 7, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Welcomes DeVos as Secretary of Education Atlanta – Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, had the following response to today’s Senate confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.  “The vote for Betsy DeVos is a vote for America’s children. “Mrs. DeVos has exercised her constitutional right to put her money where her mouth is – into school choice – and we’re excited to see her promote her preference to give families options for their children’s education. “Competition is a rising tide that lifts all boats; there’s especially no reason for an… View Article
Matthew Standsberry of the American Legislative Exchange Council wrote about pre-arrest diversion programs in Fulton County, Ga., in a February 3, 2017, article on ALEC’s website. The article is reprinted below; access it at ALEC at www.alec.org/article/georgia-examines-a-pre-arrest-diversion-program/. Georgia Examines a Pre-Arrest Diversion Program By Matthew Standsberry Politicians and citizens from both sides of the aisle have been pushing for criminal justice reform for years. In 2008, a study was released by the Pew Center on the States which identified that more than 2.3 million adults are currently incarcerated in the U.S. in some capacity — amounting to nearly 1 in 100 adults in the United States. In Georgia, this problem is even more severe as one in 13 adults View Article
Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield’s column in the Sunday edition on February 5, 2017 focuses on the Foundation’s new study by Ben Scafidi, “Balancing the Books in Public Education,” which points out that the Georgia Department of Education website underreports public education spending. Wingfield’s column can be accessed online here (subscription required); it is reprinted below in its entirety. Why school spending has soared, but teachers’ salaries haven’t By Kyle Wingfield The fault line dividing public opinion about school choice and other education reforms is spending. Proponents say we spend plenty today, with mediocre results. Opponents say the results would improve if we spent more. The latter argument largely boils down to paying teachers better, hiring more of… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd In a milestone event that occurred quietly on Saturday, January 28 Georgia entered the ranks of the few, the proud, the innovative states as a 12-mile stretch of reversible toll lanes opened on I-75 south of Atlanta. Just four other states boast reversible toll lanes. A little history: Georgia has known tolls since the 19th century (at least). Few metro commuters realize the toll origins of the roads they travel: Johnson Ferry and Paces Ferry (crossing the Chattahoochee) and Bell’s Ferry (crossing the Little River in Cherokee County), to name a few, once were ferry crossings that charged a toll before bridges came along. The St. Simons Island causeway, built in 1924 to replace ferries, was… View Article

Expand Retirement Options, Shrink Teacher Doldrums

This commentary appeared in the February 1, 2017, edition of The Marietta Daily Journal. By Benita M. Dodd PAGE, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, has surveyed its members and the findings, reported in its January/February 2017 newsletter (PAGE One), are depressing. The survey found that nearly half of teachers (45 percent) say they are unlikely to remain in education for the next 10 years. Sadly, a majority – 53 percent – also said they would not recommend a career in education. The report notes, “With the current teacher shortage and continuing teacher pipeline issues, these statistics are of great concern to PAGE.” The survey also found that 59 percent of the respondents oppose converting the Teacher Retirement System from… View Article

Balancing the Books in Georgia Public Education

By Benjamin Scafidi Parents, educators, policy-makers and all other taxpayers have a right to know just how much taxpayer funding is spent on Georgia public schools, how this funding has changed over time, and how their public school dollars are being spent. Unfortunately, official state websites have historically contained misleading information that hinders Georgians’ understanding of the true resource cost of our public education system and the uses of those taxpayer funds. Specifically, official state of Georgia websites give the impression that taxpayers spend billions of dollars less on K-12 public education than is actually spent. For example, according to the official spending figures on the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) website, Georgia public schools spent a total of $15.665… View Article
Who:   Small groups and employees working for groups with fewer than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees (part-time and seasonal employees can be excluded). When:  The 21st Century Cures Act passed Congress on December 7, 2016 and signed into law on December 13, 2016 with an effective date of January 1, 2017 (plan years beginning after December 31, 2016). What:  The Cures Act focuses mainly on speeding up drug approvals through the Food and Drug Administration, but as an important additional feature of the law created a new type of Health Reimbursement Arrangement called a “Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement” (QSEHRA). Executive Summary:   The Cures Act overturns a previous ruling by the IRS and DOL that precluded employers… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen There is no question Georgia’s rural hospitals are struggling. The great majority of these hospitals are losing money every year and several have been forced to close. Their struggles were one of the primary reasons cited for Medicaid expansion. But before throwing money at the problem, it’s important to understand one of the fundamental causes: a massive unfunded mandate from the federal government. In 1986, Congress passed, and President Ronald Reagan signed, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requiring hospital emergency departments to treat and stabilize all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Unfortunately, Congress didn’t appropriate funding to cover the cost. Imagine a law that required McDonald’s to give away food or Holiday… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Opportunity is knocking as the door opens on Georgia’s 2017-18 legislative session. In a state with a Republican governor since 2002 and GOP majorities in both chambers since 2004, it’s time for legislators to welcome policy reforms that can improve income, opportunity and well-being. In 2014, the Legislature capped the personal income tax rate at 6 percent. That’s a start. But legislators ignored a provision in the 2015 Transportation Funding Act (HB 170) to create a “Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure” that would “during the 2016 legislative session cause to be introduced in the House of Representatives one or more bills or resolutions relating to tax reform.” Reforming Georgia’s individual income tax rate was… View Article
By Katherine Restrepo Anybody who is in the business of selling the idea of direct primary care (DPC) to patients, employers, or politicians can anticipate the usual pushback that will arise in any Q and A format. “Why would I want to pay twice for health care?” “Are these doctors just cherry-picking patients?” “Is this health care delivery model just for the wealthy?” It’s nice that physicians are able to spend more time with their patients, but won’t a smaller patient panel exacerbate the physician shortage problem?” “If DPC is so great, why isn’t there more data to prove it?” It couldn’t be more predictable. Really. For those who need a quick explanation of direct primary care, it works like… View Article

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