Category: The Forum

Friday Facts: December 23rd, 2011

It’s Friday! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading the Friday Facts. Our staff (no, it’s not just me even though I get to sign it!) works hard every week scouring a tremendous amount of information to bring you the best of the best on Friday mornings. And if you want more than the Friday Facts once a week, “Like” our Facebook page at, where you can access daily similar posts from the Foundation. We celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2011. It was a wonderful opportunity to thank our founder, Hank McCamish, for his vision and belief that if you give Georgians access to the truth they will make the right decisions. As you… View Article
Georgia should establish a small business health insurance marketplace outside the “additional layers of cost, complexity and rigidity” associated with federal health care reform mandates. That is the recommendation from a twenty-five member committee appointed by Governor Nathan Deal.   The political question will soon become:  Should Georgia begin that process now or wait until after next summer’s highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court health care reform decision? The Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee report issued Monday proposed development of an exchange “through private or limited quasi-governmental means” as either a non-profit or public corporation.  The report did not establish a timetable.  A minority view said the 2012 Legislature should “authorize a basic structure for an individual health insurance exchange” that… View Article

CAPCOs: Higher Costs + Fewer Jobs = Risky Idea

It’s an ugly secret that Georgia is losing talent, tax revenues and jobs. While the state is a “technology and scientific research powerhouse, 92 cents of every venture capital dollar invested in Georgia companies comes from out of state,” according to testimony last month by the executive director of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech, Stephen Fleming. “We lose many smart entrepreneurs and promising startups to other states because venture capital firms want a closer eye on their investments,” Fleming said. Why is this important? Startups like these are responsible for all of the net new job growth in the U.S. over the last three decades, according to the Kauffman Foundation. If legislators are truly focused on “jobs, jobs,… View Article
That the progress in improving this nation’s air quality is hidden in hazy environmental reporting is no surprise: How would one notice improvements when only “problems” are emphasized? Unfortunately, headlines such as, “Kids with asthma head indoors during smog season” and “September smog violations highest in a decade” do nothing to convey the reality; they skew perception. Visibility in the Eastern United States, which has always been the worst, has improved dramatically in the last three decades. Yet as late as 2004, the New York Times called the view in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park “a pollution-rich brew of sulfates that scatter light and small particles that obscure it.” It’s no wonder 93 percent of Americans polled in 2007… View Article

Friday Facts: December 16th, 2011

It’s Friday! – This year, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrated 20 years of policy over politics in Georgia. As we move into 2012, we appreciate the crucial contributions of our members and supporters in our successes of 2011. There’s still an opportunity to demonstrate your support for smaller government: Lower your tax bill! Your end-of-year contribution to the Foundation is tax-deductible. The Foundation is chartered under federal law as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donate by the end of the year: Go to – Stocking stuffer ideas: Please your liberty-minded friends at Christmas and help the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The Foundation has been promised the proceeds from a book co-authored by Georgia Congressman Tom Price, “Saving View Article
Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November fell below 10 percent for the first time since June and the state is celebrating the largest one-month rate decline in 34 years.  Flip the coin and Georgia has exceeded the national rate for 52 consecutive months.  Almost one-half million Georgians are officially counted as unemployed. The state reported 9.9 percent official unemployment in November, down three-tenths of one percent from October.  Some but not all improvement is related to holiday season temporary hiring.  “We had the best November since 2007 for retail hiring, while seeing gains in the financial and business sectors,” said state labor commissioner Mark Butler. Georgia reported 467,722 official unemployed in November, down from 486,609 one year earlier.  State… View Article

What Can Georgia Learn from Portland Light-Rail?

By Robert Helin, Policy Foundation Intern The Georgia Public Policy Foundation hosted its final Leadership Breakfast of 2011 on December 14, featuring  John Charles, President and CEO of Oregon’s Cascade Policy Institute. Charles’ presentation, “Portland: Model or Maverick?” focused on Portland’s approach to land use, especially as it applies to the city’s insistence on developing light rail at the expense of bus and automobile use. He highlighted how the city has pursued honorable intentions with poor policy and flawed logic.  Watch his presentation on the Policy Foundation’s YouTube Channel. Portland’s vision of combining mixed-use development (a zoning practice of mixing residential housing with commercial businesses) with easy access to the light-rail system has proven to be an abject failure,… View Article
Georgia was ranked 48th — third from the bottom nationally – beating out just Utah and Arizona – in a federal analysis of personal health care spending per capita, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.   The report analyzed all spending, not just government budget expenses. Georgia personal health care spending at $5,467 per capita in 2009 was well below the $6,815 national average.  Ten-of-twelve southern states were below the national average.  Alabama ($6,272) joined Georgia in the bottom ten states as did two of the most populous states — Texas ($5,924) and California ($6,238).  Most New England states were above average. Personal health care spending annual… View Article
Next month the Georgia legislature will begin to consider whether substance abusers who are not a public safety risk should receive a stay out of jail card. How lawmakers decide the question could slow down runaway costs and impact state corrections policy for decades. Last month the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform said options – notably, more drug courts and treatment plus more day reporting centers — could reduce state prison population growth.  Drug courts are part of an accountability sentencing movement that includes mental health courts and veterans’ courts.  Here is what the council said about substance abuse: “In 2010, Georgia courts sent more than 5,000 lower-risk drug and property offenders to prison who have never been to… View Article

Friday Facts: December 9th, 2011

It’s Friday!     – Monday is the deadline to sign up for “Portland: Model or Maverick?” the Foundation’s final Leadership Breakfast of 2011. The event begins at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, December 14, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. John Charles, president and CEO of the Cascade Policy Institute of Oregon, will keynote “Portland: Model or Maverick?” a look at that city’s land use and transportation policies and how they would work in metro Atlanta. Registration for this event is $25. For information, go to . To register, go to           Quotations – “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s… View Article

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes