Category: Issue Analyses

Issue Analsysis: Balancing the Books in Education

This issue analysis was published on January 26, 2017. The study can be downloaded here (PDF) and the Powerpoint presentation by Dr. Scafidi can be downloaded here (PDF). The press release is below.   GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release January 26, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050 New Study Finds Georgia Underreports Public School Spending Atlanta – For decades, Georgia’s Department of Education has underreported by billions of dollars what the state spends on public schools, according to an Issue Analysis released today at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s annual National School Choice Week event. The report, “Balancing the Books in Education,” by Foundation Senior Fellow and Kennesaw State University economist Dr.… View Article
By Ross Coker With the tumultuous results of the general election, one issue that should not be pushed to the back is the reform of civil asset forfeiture laws to curb abuse and perverse incentives that harm innocent victims and the reputation of law enforcement. Some states, including Georgia, enacted reforms prior to the general election. Others made important changes via ballot measures in November. Criminal justice reform advocates are hopeful positive changes will continue under a new Trump administration. Below is a brief rundown of some notable state approaches to this issue, and their most recent status or change. California: A recent reform bill requires a conviction before forfeiture of assets can take place in cases involving assets… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Pension Reform

Principles: Any reforms to pensions should consider the long-term solvency of a plan and protect the already promised benefits for employees already in the system. The benefits in a public employee retirement system should be sustainable, secure and affordable: Provide retirement security for all members (current and future) and retirees Manage and mitigate taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and market risk Reduce long-term costs for employers or taxpayers as well as employees Stabilize contribution rates Ensure the ability to recruit 21st-century employees Improve governance & transparency The best solutions emerge from collaborative efforts involving a broad cross-section of stakeholders in a process that examines flaws in a pension system, explores and analyzes all possible methods of reform,… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Education

Principles: Curriculum standards should be rigorous, clear and measurable. All students should be held to high standards and high expectations. Teacher recruitment, education, training and compensation should be focused on attracting and retaining high quality teachers. School finance should be on a child basis, not a district basis, so that the money follows the child. Education should be personalized to meet students’ diverse needs and provide the maximum amount of choice for each to find the educational setting best suited for them. Recommendations: Implement a simpler, student-centered funding model that encourages flexibility. Fund public charter schools more equitably. Allow schools to move toward competency-based learning. Shift away from top-down regulation and micro-management of schools to accountability based on choice and… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Criminal Justice

Principles: Public safety is a core responsibility of government. A well-functioning criminal justice system enforces order and respect for every person’s right to property and life, and ensures that liberty does not lead to license. As with any government program, the criminal justice system must be transparent and include performance measures that hold it accountable for its results in protecting the public, lowering crime rates, reducing re-offending, collecting victim restitution and conserving taxpayers’ money. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through harnessing the power of families, charities, faith-based groups, and communities. Criminal prosecution should be reserved for conduct that is either blameworthy or threatens public safety, not wielded to grow government… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Health Care

Principles: Sound health care policy should have the following characteristics: Patient-centered– Putting economic purchasing power and decision-making in the hands of participants minimizes third-party reimbursements, which foster an environment of entitlement and unlimited demand for health care services. Security for the sickest– Any health care reform must work for the healthy as well as those who are sick or chronically ill. Equitable tax treatment– Tax policy should not favor health care purchased by employers over policies purchased by individuals, should not favor financing health care through insurance over paying out-of-pocket and should not favor high-income employees over low-income individuals and families. Personal responsibility– Health care reform should combine personal responsibility with financial involvement to incentivize program… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Higher Education

Georgia ranks 33rd in terms of postsecondary participation. In 2014, 51 percent of young adults were enrolled in postsecondary education or had earned a degree, compared to 55 percent nationally. [1] The average amount of annual in-state tuition and fees at Georgia’s public four-year universities increased by more than 31 percent over the last five years (a greater increase than all but one state). But the average amount of tuition and fees, $8,447, ranks below the national average at 31st. Net tuition revenue per FTE (tuition after scholarships and other grants) is $4,468, ranking Georgia 41st highest in the nation. Net Tuition Revenue is calculated by taking the gross amount of tuition and fees, less state and institutional financial aid,… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Long-Term Care

Principles Long-term care programs should be reserved for Georgia’s most vulnerable populations. Long-term care programs should be designed to avoid “crowding out” private solutions and personal responsibility. Recommendations Seek ways to target publicly funded long-term care (LTC) services to the neediestGeorgians. Middle-class and affluent people should prepay for care or repay from their estates. Now that the maintenance-of-effort restriction in the Affordable Care Act has expired, Medicaid LTC eligibility criteria should be tightened as much as possible under federal law so as to avoid “crowding out” private sources of LTC financing and encourage a privately financed home- and community-based services infrastructure. Seek waivers to eliminate or severely reduce the home equity exemption under Medicaid from its current level of $536,000… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Transportation

Principles: Traffic congestion, while inconvenient, is a sign of a thriving economy. Transportation policy must focus on improving mobility and relieving congestion. To the extent possible, users should pay. Use objective criteria when weighing transportation options. Recommendations: Embrace funding alternatives Plan for a future of transportation innovations Include Georgia’s research universities in solutions. Expand the metro Atlanta express toll lanes into a seamless network. Improve arterial mobility Adopt transit solutions that are flexible and adaptable Enhance alternative freight routes around Atlanta Develop last-mile solutions Facts: Between 1982 and 2014, according to the Texas Transportation Institute[1]: In the Atlanta urban area, which is home to about 60 percent of Georgia’s population, the population grew 105 percent but the commuter… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Welfare Reform

Principles: Helping people move from dependency to self-sufficiency should be the primary focus of the safety net. Making work pay is essential. Working more hours or getting a pay raise should not set families back financially Programs should target benefits to the most needy. Enrollment should be coordinated to eliminate fraud and abuse and enhance efficiency. Programs should be temporary rather than permanent, with few exceptions. Recommendations: Increase public education on the availability of the Earned Income Tax Credit Strengthen work requirements Implement a cash diversion program Integrate public and private services to improve efficiency and accountability Implement commonsense welfare fraud prevention practices Facts: The federal government spent $799 billion on 129 programs for lower-income Americans in 2012.[1]Together… View Article

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