Category: The Forum

Friday Facts: January 14th, 2011

It’s Friday!  Quotations – “You could take a poll and see what the public says it wants, but what the public says it wants at any particular moment is not identical with the public interestThe public is made up of individuals, most of whom have no better idea what is in the best interest of people they have never met and know nothing about than you do – and practicallyall of whom will lie when asked what it is they really want: They’ll say they want opera broadcasts and educational programming and organic chard and more foreign news in the newspaper, but in real life their revealed preferences are pretty much classic rock, fantasy-football stats, and those… View Article

Georgia Tech Ranked 4th Best Public College Investment in the Nation

10 Best Public Colleges Based on ROI Methodology   A new study by the website Payscale.com estimated the rate of return on investment in higher education for people who attended a wide array of U.S. colleges and universities. Of course, most in-state students at Georgia Tech (and our other research universities) are HOPE scholars, making the return on investment even better.… View Article

Florida Keeps Raising the Bar

Florida Governor Rick Scott took office last week and appears ready to stand behind the kind of reforms that made Florida a national leader in education reform and positive results for students under former Governor Jeb Bush. His education transition team proposed several bold reforms including: Parents could receive 85 percent of their child's per-pupil grant to use for private school tuition, virtual schooling or private tutoring. Since those options typically cost less per pupil than public education, the state would conceivably save 15 percent. Students would be allowed to take online classes full-time, part-time or by individual courses. A new classification of charters – High Performing Charter Schools – would receive greater operational flexibility, equitable funding, expedited approval processes… View Article

“Right on Crime” Message Resonating

Our “right on crime” message is resonating with elected officials. Speaker David Ralston addressed the subject earlier this month and Governor Nathan Deal made criminal justice a major part of his inaugural speech. From an interview with Speaker Ralston on January 6: “We’re going to have to start a discussion, I believe, about our policy in terms of how we incarcerate people in Georgia. I’m not sure where that discussion ultimately will lead to,” said Ralston, a one-time candidate for attorney general. We’re spending a huge amount of money locking people up that have drug problems. At some point the people of Georgia have a right to ask if that’s an appropriate way to spend their tax dollars.”… View Article

Personal vs. Professional Services (or why not tax lawyers?!)

Tax experts agree that the appropriate sales tax base should include all goods and services purchased by the final consumer, which also implies business purchases should be exempt. The challenge is applying these principles while considering practical and political realities. During the Tax Council's press conference, A.D. Frazier discussed the rationale used by the Council in determing what services to tax. He said they tried to minimize compliance costs for taxpayers. One way they did this was focusing on vendors who were already filing sales taxes because they sell some type of tangible property. For example, the service department at your local automobile dealership already charges sales tax on parts — it's not too difficult for them to add the… View Article

Simplifying the Tax Code

Simplicity was one of the goals of tax reform. The recommendations of the Tax Council make excellent progress in this respect. Unfortunately, the media has not reported these significant changes. In moving the income tax to a "flat tax," most exemptions and deductions are removed and six tax brackets are collapsed into one flat rate. Other than simple tables for low-income families to lookup their tax credit and some minor adjustments to federal adjusted gross income for a small number of taxpayers, only a few lines would be necessary for the majority of filers. Remember Dick Armey promising you could file your income taxes on a post card? Sales tax exemptions for business inputs get a major simplification. (There is… View Article

Tax Increase or Not?

It's too early to tell if the Tax Council's recommendations will result in a tax increase. The Council says their aim was to be revenue neutral, but the report (probably due to the lack of some critical information) makes it seem otherwise. There are three calculations missing from the Tax Council's report: 1) The report calls for fewer Georgia-specific adjustments to federal adjusted gross income. How much will this broaden the personal income tax base? 2) The report calls for eliminating all exemptions and deductions except for a dependent exemption of $2,000. How much will this broaden the personal income tax base? 3) The report calls for tax credits designed to offset the loss of exemptions, deductions and the tax… View Article

First Reaction to the Tax Council Recommendations

While some may quibble with the details, and some adjustments will certainly be made, if enacted, the Tax Council’s pro-growth tax reforms will make Georgia a national model. Expect many states to follow our lead in the near future. The recommendation creates a true flat tax on income and incrementally shifts revenues to a broad retail sales tax. Both income and consumption would be taxed at a low rate of 4 percent and the tax code would be simplified. Expanded targeted tax credits would protect low-income senior citizens and families. While we would hope that a tax increase is not necessary, the Council’s mandate was to recommend the best possible tax base — what we tax and how we tax… View Article

Friday Facts: January 7th, 2011

  It’s Friday!   What’s happening at the Foundation Join U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia and Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute at a Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon on Friday,  February. 4, at the Georgian Club. The topic is, “Health Care Prognosis and Prognostications.” The cost to attend this luncheon is $35. Register by Feb. 2 at this link: http://tinyurl.com/3x6jz4d. – The Georgia Public Policy Foundation turns 20 in 2011, and the yearlong theme is “20 For 20.” You’ll hear about the top 20 successes for the Foundation and Georgia; you’ll help mark our anniversary by supporting the Foundation with a donation of as little as $20 per month; you’ll be asked to steer 20… View Article

Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2015) more quotes