Category: News

Two Pro-Growth Tax Reform Plans Introduced

Two tax reform bills to lower Georgia’s income tax rate were introduced last week, but it is uncertain if any action will be taken this year. House Bill 435, sponsored by Reps. B.J. Pak and Brett Harrell, would broaden the personal income tax base by limiting itemized deductions and reduce the tax rate from 6 percent to 5.25 percent. Non-itemizers (66 percent of Georgia filers) would see no change in their deductions or taxable income, but would benefit from the rate reduction. Itemized deductions would be limited to charitable contributions (with no limit) and mortgage interest of up to $20,000. According to Bankrate.com, a new 30-year, $440,000 mortgage at a fixed 4.5 percent interest rate would have annual interest payments… View Article
The growing number of wineries in north Georgia are becoming a tourism success story. Visitors can tour the winery, sample the products and then buy a bottle, or a case, to take home. If you really like the wine, you can have up to 12 cases a year shipped to your home. Craft beer is the latest craze. Breweries are springing up all over the state of Georgia. While breweries are contributing to economic growth in many states, Georgia is being held back by antiquated laws and powerful special interests. Georgia is one of 5 states where breweries cannot sell beer directly to consumers. Brewers in Georgia simply want to be treated the same as Georgia wineries and breweries in… View Article
A bill introduced this month would modernize Georgia teachers’ pensions to be more in line with private-sector retirement plans. The proposal is modeled after the successful reform of Georgia’s pension plan for new state employees 7 years ago. Senate Bill 152, sponsored by Sen. Hunter Hill, would only apply to teachers hired after January 1, 2017.  These newly hired teachers would automatically be enrolled in a hybrid pension plan that combines a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k) plan, with a smaller traditional defined benefit component. This is exactly what happened with state employees in 2008 in response to a survey showing that state employees under age 30 earning less than $35,000 annually – who made up the… View Article

Climate Change Rules Could Be the Death of You

This op-ed by Heartland Institute Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at http://www.ajc.com/news/news/opinion/choose-the-vehicle-you-want/nj3TR/ Climate or Crash Risk in Your Vehicle Choice By H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.  Environmentalists are coming after your car — again. And what they don’t want you to know is their crusade, if successful, would result in a multitude of unnecessary deaths.  With the false promise of reduced dependence on foreign oil, environmental radicals convinced Congress to establish Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards beginning in 1975. CAFE standards required cars to meet federally mandated fuel economy targets or pay a hefty tax, a tax on gas guzzling sedans. The results? Many people switched to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Others, however, started driving… View Article
EVENT INVITATION December 2, 2014 Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org Celebrate National School Choice Week January 21, 2015 Atlanta – As you celebrate the Holiday Season, don’t forget to reserve your seat at the Georgia Public Foundation’s first event of 2015, a celebration of National School Choice Week. The Foundation’s 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club features keynote speaker Dr. Ben Scafidi on, “School Choice: The Next Frontier.” Dr. Scafidi is the state’s foremost education expert, a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Friedman Foundation, and ­the director of Kennesaw State University’s new Education Economics Center. This Leadership Breakfast, which is open to the… View Article

Savannah Tour Guides Sue to End Licensing Requirement

“We shouldn’t need a license to tell a story” The Institute for Justice and a coalition of current and would-be Savannah tour guides have filed a federal lawsuit over the city’s  licensing requirement. Below is the Institute’s news release: Savannah, Ga. – Tour guides are storytellers, and in America, you shouldn’t need a license to tell a story. But the city of Savannah disagrees, imposing a host of regulatory burdens on people who want to talk to paying tour groups. That’s why, today, a coalition of current and would-be Savannah tour guides has joined forces with the Institute for Justice to file a federal lawsuit seeking to vindicate an important First Amendment principle: The government cannot require a license to… View Article

Four Drivers of Tomorrow’s Education Reforms

By Kelly McCutchen In “Time for a Reboot,” Checker Finn highlights four drivers of tomorrow’s education reforms: 1. Individualization. Without going crazy—everybody still needs to learn to multiply, to compose a grammatical sentence, to explain the background of the Civil War—education is ripe to shift from batch-processing to customizing kids’ instructional experience, moving from pre-set menus to some version of “grazing.” Not just with regard to what is learned or when, but also the mode of instruction—and the rate at which a youngster moves through school. 2. Technology hugely simplifies individualization. Over time, it will also save money, and some of those savings can be redeployed toward hiring better—but fewer—flesh-and-blood teachers. Completely “virtual” out-of-school education will have limited… View Article
The U.S. health care system confounds and confuses nearly everyone.  Ever-changing federal government mandates, an alarming number of people who have no health insurance from any source, the trend by employers to reduce or even eliminate health care coverage for employees and retirees, all of this and more has created hyper-ventilation in health care which is about one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy. “Tearing Down the Walls Between Doctors and Patients” brought three medical practitioners together at the 2014 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.  Dr. Josh Umbehr is a Wichita, Kansas physician whose Atlas MD provides direct primary care at a fixed price.  Dr. Brian Hill is with Urology Specialists of Atlanta at St. Joseph Hospital.  Jimmy Childre, Jr. is former… View Article

“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.

State Senator Eric Johnson, President pro tempore, Georgia State Senate more quotes