Category: The Forum

SyncTrans: A Vision for the Future of Mass Transit

By William V. McRae July 23, 2001 Foreword The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has focused much effort in recent years on sorting out the facts and identifying realistic solutions to Metro Atlanta’s transportation and air quality challenges. We have been quite skeptical of solutions based on light and heavy rail because very reliable data indicates that these modes of transportation will have little impact on traffic congestion and air quality because they do not attract a significant number of people out of their cars. For mass transit to entice drivers out of their cars, it must satisfy consumer demands. In other words, mass transit needs a better product. Despite these facts, the Metro Atlanta area seems intent upon building more … View Article

The Tide is Turning

By Kelly McCutchen “I think it’s so irritating that once I die, 55 percent of my money goes to the United States government. You know why that’s so irritating? Because you have already paid nearly 50 percent on that money.”  — Oprah Winfrey “…for too long the [British] tax system has undervalued entrepreneurship and investment.” — Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer (United Kingdom) When a pop icon like Oprah Winfrey and Britain’s Labor government both call for tax cuts, it is safe to say that the idea has become mainstream. Ms. Winfrey’s comment came during the taping of her television show. The shocker from Great Britain came from a March budget address by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown,… View Article
By Laura Creasy The Metropolitan Atlanta area continues to display one of the strongest and most diversified economies among major urban centers in the United States. Over the past few years, the Atlanta area has benefited from the growth of manufacturing headquarters, as well as the growth of technology-based industries. Indeed, Metro Atlanta’s high-tech workforce is one of the largest in the southeastern United States, which includes locally based companies such as BellSouth, MindSpring, and Scientific Atlanta, as well as internationally known firms such as Lucent Technologies. However, the area’s vibrant economy has also come at a cost – a population explosion that outpaces roadway capacity. During the past decade, the 13-county Atlanta metro area has grown significantly. More importantly,… View Article

Should the Corporate Income Tax be Repealed?

By Martin F. Grace Georgia, like most of her sister states, has a corporate income tax. The corporate income tax was first introduced in Georgia in 1929. The rate has always been a flat proportional rate, fluctuating up and down during the years within the range of 4 percent and 7.5 percent. The present rate of 6 percent has not changed since 1969. The corporate franchise tax, levied on net worth, is administered in conjunction with the corporate income tax. In 1997, these two taxes constituted approximately 6.91 percent of the state’s tax revenues. However, this percentage fluctuates from year to year and has decreased over the past number of years. In 1997, corporations paid $729.5 million in these two… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen As has been well reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta’s next mayor faces a ticking time bomb – the city’s water and sewer system. Due to years of neglect and poor design, raw sewage continues to flow into Atlanta’s rivers and streams, polluting the waterways for both Atlanta citizens and Georgians living downstream. Even more frightening is the recent finding that the city’s drinking water is at risk of contamination. In addition, the lack of sewer capacity threatens to freeze economic growth – growth that is crucial to Atlanta’s and Georgia’s future. Where is the public outrage? Where is the Sierra Club? If the Dow Chemical Company had flagrantly dumped more than two million of gallons of… View Article

Mugged by Reality

Eight Lessons We’ve Learned About the Epidemic of Crime and What to Do About it Eugene H. Methvin In the 30 years since Congress first established a federal agency for the study of crime, we have spent millions of dollars on criminological studies. That investment is finally bearing fruit. Aided by powerful new computers crunching reams of data, social scientists have learned a lot about criminal careers, how they develop, and how society can thwart them. The most serious offenders against people and property in this country generally hit their criminal peak between 16 and 18 years of age. The hard-core young thug-to-be starts stealing from mama’s purse before he’s 10. By the fourth and fifth grades, he is skipping… View Article
By Cameron Meierhoefer and Melissa Kelman Since the passage of the 1992 Energy Policy Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been laying the federal groundwork for deregulated wholesale competition in the electric power industry across the country. At the same time, states across the nation have begun evaluating retail competition, where individual customers can directly benefit from competitive pricing. In an effort to protect their regional monopolies, a number of utilities have warned that market forces cannot protect the public and ensure reliable service to meet all future demand. Yet, industrial users and local economic development authorities have supported careful deregulation as a safe and effective way to achieve lower electricity prices. As a consequence, state governments across… View Article

Why Georgia Needs a New Approach to Testing

By Dr. Franklin Shumake Georgia spent $4 million in 1995 (test development, administration and training) evaluating students using Georgia-designed tests that compare Georgia students with other Georgia students. Moreover, the tests are geared specifically to a Georgia curriculum. Ironically, this testing program is not only very costly, it perpetuates mediocrity and prevents parents and teachers from knowing how Georgia students compare with students from other states and regions. Individual Scores and National Comparisons Student achievement will improve in Georgia on a student-by-student basis. Teachers can best assist students when they have a clear picture of the academic strengths and weaknesses of individual students. A testing program should provide teachers with this data, enabling them to teach a student rather than… View Article
By Sunny Park Sunny Park was born in 1942 in Seoul, South Korea. After coming to the United States in 1967 and gaining full citizenship in 1974, he became a successful businessman and an active member of his community. As a relative newcomer to this country, he is concerned that America’s youth are not being taught, and consequently do not fully appreciate, the principles their forbearers fought for in creating the freest nation on Earth and how fortunate they are to be Americans.  As an immigrant, I have personally learned and benefitted from the tremendous value of this great country, the United States of America. I think it can be summarized as follows: • Freedom — A people willing to… View Article
By Dr. Steve Morse Executive Summary In 1994, the Governor’s Development Council created Georgia’s Business Expansion Support Team (B.E.S.T.) for the purpose of attracting new companies to Georgia and helping existing Georgia businesses expand. To support the Georgia B.E.S.T. program, the 1994 Georgia General Assembly passed the Georgia Business Expansion and Support Act, authorizing tax incentives to attract businesses to Georgia and allow the state to more effectively compete in the multi-state bidding wars with neighboring states Alabama and South Carolina. Supporters of tax incentives argue that Georgia must offer concessions at least equal to neighboring states or risk losing new business and job creation opportunities. http://www.georgiapolicy.org/ftp_files/taxcred.pdf View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.

Former Georgia Senate Minority Leader Chuck Clay more quotes