Category: News

Where are we as of Day 40?

Status of key economic issues (updated at 10 pm): Education: Increase in the cap on the tuition tax credit scholarship that was hit in a matter of hours on January 1 of this year: No action Education Savings Accounts, similar to those in Arizona and Florida, that allows parents to tailor education spending to meet the unique needs of their children: Passed committee, no vote in the House Creation of a Opportunity School District for failing schools: Passed Move on When Ready 2.0 allowing high school students to take college level classes while still enrolled in high school: Passed Address state charter and virtual school funding: No action Allow workplace charter schools: Passed committee, no vote in the House Allow… View Article

UPDATED: Transportation Funding Update

How did we get here? The portion of Georgia’s motor fuel tax that is dedicated to transportation funding is among the lowest in the nation. Over the last decade, state leaders have diverted funds for maintenance into sorely needed new projects. Today, not only do we have a backup of needed maintenance (not unlike the years of neglected maintenance of the Atlanta sewer system) and additional debt to service, but we also need added investment to relieve some of the nation’s worst traffic congestion in Metro Atlanta and other bottlenecks throughout the state. What is the need? In our lengthy study, we determined Georgia needs $1 billion a year of new revenue to meet ongoing maintenance needs as well… View Article
GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release March 31, 2015 Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org Mercatus Study Finds Dire Consequences to Georgia CON Program Atlanta – Since 1979, Georgia has been one of 36 states and the District of Columbia to restrict the supply of health care through certificate-of-need (CON) programs that limit entry or expansion of health facilities, traditionally justified with the claim that they reduce and control health care costs. A study released today by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, however, finds serious consequences for continuing to enforce CON regulations, which restrict competition and choice. It reports that Georgia’s CON program is the 18th most restrictive in the nation, with 17 devices… View Article
GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release March 13, 2015 Contact Kelly McCutchen at 404-256-4050 or kmccutchen@georgiapolicy.org Foundation Highlights Solar Energy and Sunshine Week Atlanta – Two years ago this week, Dublin High School in Laurens County broke ground on a solar panel array that was described as a trailblazer funding model and a moneysaver for the school. As she gathered information for an article marking the March 11 anniversary of the groundbreaking, Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd gained a renewed appreciation for Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of the national initiative for open government and freedom of information that takes place next week (March 15-21). This screen shot shows that Laurens County’s court Web site for the… View Article

Thoughts on the gas tax

The Tax Foundation has released a new report to help federal lawmakers figure out how to address transportation challenges. Some of the advice could also prove helpful to Georgia as we struggle with similar problems. From the Tax Foundation’s press release: If lawmakers decide to look for revenue instead of cutting trust fund spending, their source of revenue should be long-term and should connect drivers as closely to the cost of funding the roads as possible, according to the latest report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. One option is to increase the gas tax, adjust it to inflation, and offset that increase by reducing another tax by the same amount of revenue. Besides being revenue neutral, there are good policy… View Article

Update on Transportation Funding

Below is the current allocation of motor fuel taxes based on the four-year average price of motor fuel where the consumer pays 29.2 cents per gallon. Cents Per Gallon Revenue (in Millions) State Excise Tax 7.5 $450 State Sales Tax 10.2 $610 State Sales Tax (“4th Penny”) 3.4 $203 Local Sales Tax (based on $3.39 average retail price) 8.1 $488 29.2 $1,752 Below would be the allocation of motor fuel taxes based on the current version of the Transportation Funding Act (as of March 4) with the proposed amendment to reduce the state excise tax. This would convert most sales taxes on motor fuel to a state excise tax of 24 cents per gallon. Only SPLOST and ESPLOST sales taxes… View Article

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

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