Category: The Forum

Wall Street Journal: Georgia Tax Plan is the Anti-Illinois

The editorial page of today's Wall Street Journal praised Georgia's proposed tax reform plan as "The Anti-Illinois." It praised the plan for following "the first principle of a sound and fair tax system: Apply a low rate to a broad base" and encouraged the state to move toward reducing income tax rates to zero to compete with Florida and Texas. Excerpts of the editorial are below: The genius of American federalism is that states can choose to walk off a policy cliff—or not. Illinois has just raised taxes, but Georgia may be moving in the opposite direction by cutting taxes to make the state a more attractive destination for workers and business. A bipartisan tax commission chartered last year by… View Article

Misuse of Fees Weakens Trust in Government

And we wonder why trust in government is on the decline. James Salzer has a great article in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution exposing how the state has been diverting fee revenues to balance the budget. These are the types of actions that erode the public's confidence in government. Choosing to extend the tolls on Georgia 400 without much public debate was another recent example. Once the economy recovers, these fee revenues should be returned and steps taken to protect these funds going forward. … View Article

Rhode Island Leads the Way in Medicaid Reform

In 2009, the State of Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive block grant funding for Medicaid. Since then, they have saved money without reducing eligibility. In face, this is one reason why they had a large budget surplus in FY 2010. Rhode Island is successfully showing that more money is not the solution; comprehensive reform and freedom from onerous federal mandates work. Their Global Medicaid Waiver is seen as a model for state Medicaid reform and could be replicated by each state. Read more in the Galen Institute's 11-page summary.… View Article

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

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