Category: Commentaries

An Unwarranted Criticism of School Choice

By Russ Moore May is known for flowers, Memorial Day, graduations and – to some in the education arena – the annual GradNation report by America’s Promise Alliance.  The report, the seventh annual, is commendable: chock-full of well-researched statistics and compelling charts reporting America’s progress becoming a “GradNation” by achieving an average high school graduation rate of 90 percent by 2020. Sadly, the predictable “spin” from groups with an ax to grind has also hit the streets. Case in point: A recent article on the Education Week (EdWeek) blog has the tantalizing headline: “Charter, Alternative, Virtual Schools Account for Most Low-Grad-Rate Schools, Study Finds.” EdWeek may not be an “enemy” of school choice, but a casual search of its… View Article

Flint’s Water Crisis Hides the Blessing

By Harold Brown Harold Brown President Obama has announced he is heading to Flint, Mich., on May 4th, another sign the Flint Water Crisis is the latest example of protesting too much. The good news is hidden; the crisis is being shouted. The Detroit Free Press announced, “President Obama declares emergency in Flint” and called it “a manmade catastrophe.” The Guardian newspaper headlined it, “Flint water crisis was ‘environmental injustice,’ governor’s taskforce finds.” The Flint waterworks switched its intake from the Detroit water system to the Flint River April 30, 2014. After the switch, Flint didn’t use a corrosion-control treatment to help prevent lead and copper from leaching from water lines. In February 2015, the city of Flint tested tap… View Article

It’s Earth Day: Hold On to Your Wallets!

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Before and since the first Earth Day in April 1970, this nation has made awe-inspiring improvements in its quality of air, water and life. Still, the eco-activists’ to-do list just gets longer. Expect more announcements of environmental “crises” today from agency officials and environmental groups as they once again try to justify their existence and your donations, voluntary or not. Once, your parents told you to clean your plate and, “Think of the starving children in India.” This Earth Day, “nanny government” gets literal at the Environmental Protection Agency, which takes on “food recovery” with tools for assessing wasted food. For the Department of Energy, the issue is climate change. The… View Article

Transit’s Future is in Innovation, Not in Trains

By Benita Dodd Rail transit as a mass transportation mode is one of the least effective, most expensive options for metro Atlanta, whose reputation as the poster child for sprawl has been earned. The region’s low density makes the mode supremely inefficient and the innovations in transportation make it archaic. Yet rail proponents barely bat an eye at these realities as they continue the campaign to expand MARTA rail. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation, as it observes the rail discussion, has long held that one of the least objectionable rail corridors would be the Clifton corridor. The corridor is one of the metro area’s most congested commutes, with major employers such as Emory University and Hospital, the Centers for Disease… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Georgia and the rest of the country are experiencing a significant demographic change: We’re seeing more grandparents and children, with fewer folks in between. The Census Bureau projects that Georgia’s elderly population will nearly double between 2010 and 2030. Meanwhile, the number of children ages 5-17 is predicted to rise by 26 percent. This shift will place a serious strain on a decreasing percentage of working-age adults. Georgia has one of the most generous retirement exclusions for income tax purposes in the nation ($130,000 per couple) and, in many counties, those over 65 are exempted from school taxes. So Georgia’s anticipated 1 million-plus increase of retirement-age residents will be particularly significant as state and local… View Article

Few Bright Spots Under The Gold Dome

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Missed opportunities. That’s the best description of the just completed legislative session. The General Assembly is often, and appropriately, chided for passing last-minute bills with little debate or study. This year, several study committees put in work prior to the session to craft comprehensive reforms in education, tax and welfare reform. The work was for naught; none of the proposals passed. Education was pushed to the forefront when Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal appointed an Education Reform Commission in January 2015. Replacing Georgia’s 1980s-era funding formula was the primary focus, a feat two previous Governors had attempted and failed. After months of meetings and several fits and starts, the Commission released its 86-page final report full… View Article
Benita Dodd wrote a commentary for ZPolitics that was published on March 23, 2016, the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. The article is published in its entirety below; read it online at http://zpolitics.com/six-reasons/. ObamaCare Turns 6 Today. Here are six reasons it why it needs to go.     By Benita Dodd Today (March 23) marks the sixth anniversary of passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that was implemented in 2014. In Georgia, there’s no end in sight to ObamaCare opposition. It’s fortunate. Georgia is among 27 states that left ObamaCare to the federally managed health care exchange, www.healthcare.gov.  About half the state-managed exchanges are struggling financially. Georgia is also among 20 states that chose not to View Article

Transit Funding a Step in the Right Direction

By Baruch Feigenbaum In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed the Transportation Funding Act, dedicating substantial existing resources from the general fund to state roadway funding. Unfortunately, the 2015 plan funded neither transit nor local roadways. In 2016, legislation introduced by Sen. Brandon Beach proposed increasing the sales tax in the city of Atlanta, DeKalb County and Fulton County by 0.50 cents to fund three rail expansions: Lindbergh Station to Emory, alongside S.R. 400 from North Springs Station to Windward Parkway and Indian Creek Station to Lithonia. While the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transportation Authority (MARTA) favored the rail expansion, some communities were not on board. Much of the opposition centered on North Fulton, where area leaders believed that improving… View Article

An Assault on Nonprofit Giving

This commentary by Jon Riches appeared March 18 in Philanthropy Daily and is republished below. Access the commentary online at http://www.philanthropydaily.com/an-assault-on-nonprofit-giving/. An Assault on Nonprofit Giving By Jon Riches Do you donate to the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, or your local art museum? If so, you may soon be required to report your name, address, and contribution amounts to the government. Couched as “transparency” measures, a wave of regulatory action, legislative proposals, and ballot measures are aimed at eliminating, or significantly curtailing, private charitable giving. The first line of attack on donor privacy has come from partisan regulators. Attorneys General in both New York and California have been notifying nonprofit organizations that they must disclose private tax… View Article

Tax Reform A Needed Boost for Georgia’s Economy

The Senate voted along party lines March 16 on tax reform for Georgia. By Kelly McCutchen The Georgia Senate deserves a hearty congratulations for approving a pro-growth tax reform Wednesday (March 16) that would reduce Georgia’s marginal personal income tax rate for the first time since it was implemented in 1937. To be the best place to do business in the nation, Georgia needs a more competitive tax code. In the Southeast, only South Carolina’s top income tax rate of 7 percent is higher; nationally, 28 states have lower marginal rates. The proposed income tax changes can be explained in less than a minute. Georgia’s six tax brackets would be collapsed into one tax bracket of 5.4 percent (a reduction… View Article

As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes