Category: News

How the South Will Rise to Power Again

By Joel Kotkin The common media view of the South is as a regressive region, full of overweight, prejudiced, exploited and under-educated numb skulls . This meme was perfectly captured in this Bill Maher-commissioned video from Alexandra Pelosi, the New York-based daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Given the level of imbecility, maybe we’d be better off if the former Confederate states exiled themselves into their own redneck empire. Travel writer Chuck Thompson recently suggested this approach in a new book. Right now, however, Northerners can content themselves with the largely total isolation of Southerners from the corridors of executive power. Yet even as the old Confederacy’s political banner fades, its long-term economic prospects shine bright.  This… View Article
By Mike Klein Georgians will need a comfy couch, lots of time and perhaps some caffeine when they begin to read newly introduced juvenile justice and civil code legislation.  Juvenile justice provisions in  House Bill 242 include a proposal to completely revise the state’s 32-year-old juvenile Designated Felony Act, a long overdue step forward, by creating two classes of more and less serious juvenile felony crimes. Juvenile civil code revisions would update laws that govern how juvenile courts operate and the rights of minors in custody and other situations.  The legislation is a comfy couch read at 244 pages.  The juvenile justice sections closely follow the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform recommendations, which were released in December.  Civil… View Article
By Mike Klein Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein declared the state is at a “crossroads in juvenile justice history” and challenged the General Assembly to expand mental health services for “clearly disturbed youngsters” during her final State of the Judiciary address, telling lawmakers, “We wait for the explosion and it will come” unless courts have more resources for dealing with juveniles who are clearly at risk to themselves and others. Hunstein delivered her final State of the Judiciary Address to the General Assembly Thursday morning in Atlanta.  Her term as Chief Justice expires later this year.  Hunstein devoted a major section of her remarks to adult and juvenile justice system reforms.  Legislators enacted the start of adult reforms… View Article

TaxReformTheGame.Com … Welcome to Planet Wonky!

By Mike Klein Warning:  Your star ship is about to land on Planet Wonky!   After all, discussions about whether to broaden the tax base, change exemptions and deductions and other such discourse are, if nothing else, wonky.    Even the wonkiest of wonks admit that what they do is too wonky for most folks.  But ah ha!  Now there is a wonky game for even the least wonky among us. TaxReformTheGame.Com has launched on the internet.   It is your ticket to rewriting Georgia’s tax code all by yourself using the two simplest rules in the game:  Point and Click.  Each time you point and click, each time you change the data going in, you get a different result coming out.  That… View Article
By Eric Wearne Colleges around the country, including Emory, are constantly experimenting with online learning.  New formats and offerings appear somewhere every semester.  Many colleges already partner with the private company Coursera to offer fully online courses (though not for normal credits). Last week San Jose State University reached an agreement with another private online learning company, Udacity, to offer Udacity courses, with the aid of live San Jose State classroom instructors, for San Jose State credit in some remedial and introductory courses.   While disruptive to the normal way of conducting classes, this arrangement might represent a compromise skeptics can accept.  All three of the groups involved in this deal stand to benefit in some way: San Jose State,… View Article
By David Brunori Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has made the most provocative tax reform recommendation in many years. Jindal said he would overhaul the tax law. If he has his way, he’ll revolutionize it. The governor proposes to eliminate both the personal and corporate income laws in Louisiana. Why eliminate all the income taxes in the state? Jindal thinks it would be a boon to the economy. If the state allows citizens to keep more money in their pockets, they will invest and spend wisely (certainly more wisely than the government). Jindal also believes the change will attract businesses. Businesses, too, would like to keep more money in their pockets. The Tax Foundation predicts that repealing the income taxes… View Article
By Mike Klein Each year Georgia law enforcement seizes millions of dollars in personal property from people who were never charged with or convicted of a crime.  There was merely the suspicion that a crime had been committed, and that the property might somehow be connected to the crime that never happened. The story gets worse for property owners.  Georgia state law permits law enforcement agencies to sell the property and keep the proceeds.  The exact annual dollar value of these seizures and sales is unknown because law enforcement agencies have largely failed to file required reports. This is what the Institute for Justice  (IJ) said about Georgia civil asset forfeiture policies in a new report released Wednesday: “Georgia’s civil… View Article

Beleaguered DOT’s To-Do List is Doable

(Guest column published January 29 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) By Benita Dodd Georgia’s Department of Transportation has been under fire in recent years, much of it deserved amid unwise policy decisions and lackadaisical financial management.  Under new management, with greater transparency and financial accountability, the agency is doing better.  But still more can be done for policy to progress in Georgia’s current economic climate. The department’s job is complicated by the lack of available funding.  Last year, voters in all but three of 12 regions rejected a proposed regional penny sales tax that would have funded projects in each region.  The shortfall is more serious when considering declining fuel tax revenues; congressional earmarks that divert federal funds from state priorities;… View Article

Congress Works to Dismantle and Defund ObamaCare

By Grace-Marie Turner Facing a presidential veto pen blocking repeal of ObamaCare, the House is working to defund, dismantle, and delay implementation of the unpopular health overhaul law to avert at least some of its damage in the near term. The Fiscal Cliff deal chipped away at ObamaCare, eliminating one of its programs completely and cutting funding for another. Farewell, CLASS: The CLASS Act, a long-term-care insurance program that had been championed by late Sen. Edward Kennedy, was blessedly eliminated. The administration had said last year it couldn’t figure a way to assure the program would be financially solvent for 75 years before it was put into place – as the law requires. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a… View Article
By Mike Klein Discussion about mental health and other substance abuse treatment alternatives was front and center Wednesday when criminal justice system officials addressed House and Senate joint appropriations lawmakers at the State Capitol.  “Mental health is a huge issue in all the things we do,” Judge Robin W. Shearer said on behalf of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges. Georgia is in the early stages of significant adult and juvenile justice system reforms that focus on how to ensure incarceration for the most serious offenders, and how to provide community treatment options for offenders who do not benefit from or even require incarceration. Last year the General Assembly passed reforms to move the adult corrections system toward those goals.  … 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