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Since 1991
Governor Deal: Some Districts Will Cancel Planned Furloughs

Governor Nathan Deal said Thursday that many public school systems will use their share of a $500 million state education funding increase to end furlough days. By Foundation Editor Mike Klein

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Forum Fact: Georgia Rainy Day Reserves See Brighter Forecast

Georgia’s rainy day fund — Revenue Shortfall Reserve in government speak – could approach the $1 billion mark this year – an impressive recovery from recent lean years. By Foundation Editor Mike Klein

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Obama Minimum Wage Compassion is a Tax Boost for Government

President Obama continues to push for an increase in the federal minimum wage but as University of Georgia economist Jeffrey Dorfman explains here, the biggest winners from Obama’s proposal would be government tax collectors.

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Video Forum: Ron Bachman Discusses Medicaid Expansion on GPB

RON BACHMAN Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Georgia Public Policy Foundation senior fellow Ron Bachman discussed Medicaid expansion and improved access to health care during a recent guest segment on GPB’s “On The Story.”  The video is available online.  Bachman supports improved access to healthcare for all Georgians but he opposes Medicaid expansion.

“I am worried about access to real quality healthcare,” said Bachman. “In the private market 79 percent of physicians accept children but in the Medicaid market only 47 percent do.  One of the reasons we have our emergency rooms and hospitals packed with so many Medicaid patients is that primary physicians won’t see them so their only choice is to go to emergency rooms.”

The panel moderated by Bill Nigut and Bobbie Battista discussed HB 990 that would require legislative approval to expand Medicaid and HB 707 that would prevent state agencies from advocating for or assisting with health insurance exchanges established under the Obamacare insurance mandate and new tax legislation.  HB 990 passed but HB 707 did not pass.

The conversation begins at 06:30 and concludes at 18:35.

Please copy and paste this link into your browser:

Additional Resources:

Alternatives to Medicaid Expansion:  Looking at Other States

Reason Foundation Lists Obamacare’s Troubled State Exchanges

Why Obamacare Medicaid Expansion is Bad for Taxpayers and Patients

GPPF Video Forum: Medicaid Expansion and Access to Health Care


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Video Forum: Eight Important Issues That Impact Georgians

Atlanta Journal-Constitution conservative columnist Kyle Wingfield and Georgia Center for Opportunity vice president Eric Cochling discuss eight issues that impact Georgians.  This conversation was recorded at our “Georgia Legislative Roundup” policy leadership breakfast on March 26 at The Georgian Club in Cobb County.  Segment introductions by Kelly McCutchen.

Eric Cochling:  Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Success

Kyle Wingfield: Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment Initiatives

Eric Cochling: Child Welfare and Foster Care Reform

 Kyle Wingfield: Traffic Congestion and Transportation $$$

Eric Cochling:  Education Funding and School Choice

Kyle Wingfield: Georgia Income Tax and Pension Reform

Eric Cochling: Medicaid and Access to Health Care

Kyle Wingfield: Entrenched Threats to Innovation


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Video: Eric Cochling, Kyle Wingfield Dissect 2014 Legislature

Good enough on some levels but not good enough across-the-board.

That was their analysis of the 2014 General Assembly from Eric Cochling and Kyle Wingfield at our sold-out policy breakfast on Wednesday, March 26.  Cochling is vice president of public policy at the Georgia Center for Opportunity and Wingfield is the conservative voice on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial pages.

“You saw a lot of excitement about certain ideas whether it was welfare reform or new school choice concepts coming through that made it through a chamber with vast majorities voting in favor of it but then it goes on to die in the other chamber,” Cochling said.  “I would characterize the session as some positive things happened but many missed opportunities for a truly conservative policy movement forward.”

“Thirty-seven constitutional amendments were introduced and two will be on the ballot this fall,” Wingfield said.  “Several would have been very good and would represent great progress for Georgia.  They are not going to be there and the prospects of getting them on the ballot I would argue will only get worse in future years.”

Issues discussed in this YouTube video include criminal justice reform, federal balanced budget constitutional amendment initiatives, child welfare and foster care, transportation investment, tax credit scholarships and school choice, state income tax and pension reform, and Medicaid expansion and improved access to health care for all Georgians.


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Video: Too Many People Are Looking for Free Stuff

By Mike Klein

Sunny Park at 2014 GPPF Annual Dinner

Sunny Park at 2014 GPPF Annual Dinner

Sunny Park knew what he wanted when he arrived from South Korea. “I came to the United States in 1974 to achieve my dream.  My dream was and is clean more toilets.  Americans eat a lot, they use the bathroom a lot and my business continues to grow.”  Park earned $1.80 per hour in his first job, cleaning toilets.

Today his Atlanta-based General Building Maintenance firm cleans three million toilets and 470 million square feet of commercial space every night. Park pays more than $1 million in annual federal income tax.“This is a paradise,” he says.“I am Achiever of American Dream.”

Park no longer worries about money.  He does worry whether America is going soft.

“Too many people are looking for free stuff,” Park told the Foundation’s 2014 Annual Dinner audience.  “I don’t want any American (to) give up the pride of (being an) individual and start treating this country like renting.  We need to treat this country as owner of this country.

“A lot of times, unfortunately, I am thinking this was land of opportunity and still is a land of opportunity, still the best country, best place on earth to make a quality life.  However, would this country be seen same as today in 50 years, 100 years?  Would millions of people in foreign countries want to come and live here? I hope so. A lot of times, I doubt. Hope I am wrong.”

Young Sunny was a student of American history growing up in South Korea.  The lesson he took was that it is not what you do for yourself; it is what you do for someone else.

“Patrick Henry was not saying, give me liberty or give me death; he did not say that for himself.  Abraham Lincoln didn’t say anything for himself.  John F. Kennedy was not mentioning for himself.  So my achievement in this country has to be the right thing for this country.

“Once I achieve (American Dream) what am I going to do with it?  Am I going to eat four meals a day or wear two ties, three jackets?  This country should be better than the day that I got here so I am leaving this podium, asking my friends, this country has got to wake up,” Park said,

“Forty percent of high school kids are dropping out. Is that your problem or somebody else(‘s) problem? We’re smart people. We can figure that out. High school dropout(s) is our problem, and your problem. We need to fix it. How (do) we fix it?  We are smart enough people to find a solution. We cannot sit here and depend on government. Take action. God bless you all.  God bless America.”

Here is the video of Park’s remarks at our 2014 Policy Foundation Annual Dinner.

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Video: Opportunity and Attainment of the American Dream

Lisa Kelly at 2014 GPPF Annual Dinner.

Lisa Kelly at 2014 GPPF Annual Dinner.By Mike Klein

By Mike Klein

The word is out:  Georgia should expand its incredibly successful but seriously underfunded tax credit scholarship program that enables parents to select a private school education for their kids, in part funded by Georgians who contribute tax dollars to support educational choice.

Unfortunately, too few Georgia parents have choice because the program is capped at $58 million.  Applications for next year credits hit the limit in January. An effort to increase the tax cap limit fizzled in this year’s Legislature.

“I work in an area that is all about opportunity and attainment of the American Dream,” says Lisa Kelly, co-founder and President of the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program. Kelly spoke at the Policy Foundation’s 2014 Annual Dinner.  For Kelly and her husband Jim school choice was always about personal choice as they raised two daughters.

“We like parents everywhere had to navigate the increasingly complex and sometimes troubling world of K-through-12 education.  After several years in public schools we actually moved our daughters to private Christian schools,” Kelly said. “We worked like crazy to pay the tuition and it was a definite sacrifice.  We were always so incredibly grateful that we could select what we felt were the best schools for our daughters.”

Lisa Kelly left a successful corporate career after Georgia enacted a tax credit scholarship law in 2008.  Georgia GOAL is the largest organization of its kind and at $88 million it has received about one-third of all statewide tax credit funds.  GOAL has surpassed 36,000 direct tax credit contributions, enabling it to make 7,000 awards to students who attend 122 schools statewide.  The average student family income is $25,500 and one-third of recipients are minority students.

Here is the video of Kelly’s remarks at our 2014 Policy Foundation Annual Dinner.



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Atlanta Streetcar Costly, Slow, Inconvenient

Watching the evolving justification for the Atlanta Streetcar is like watching a shell game. It’s anybody’s guess what reason will turn up next: mobility, congestion relief, economic development, environmental benefits or tourism. Only the naive would place a bet. By Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd

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Logistics Leaders Decry Lack of Federal Long-Term Planning

America’s infrastructure is not entirely healthy – we knew that – and the federal government is not paying enough attention. That was one underlying message articulated this week when Georgia sold out its sixth annual Logistics Summit. By Foundation Editor Mike Klein

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