Category: The Forum

We Need Axes, Not Taxes

By Kelly McCutchen Governor Sonny Perdue gave his first Budget Address this week. It is a speech that no governor likes to give, and one he certainly hopes not to give again. The new administration barely had time to clean up the confetti after its historic victory party in November before finding themselves in the middle of an historic budget crisis. The news was bad. For the first time in 50 years, state revenue collections were less than the previous year – easily the worst budget crisis in the modern era. In his budget address, the governor outlined a plan of budget cuts in some areas, tapping a portion of the state’s “rainy day fund” and a package of fee… View Article
By Chris Carr Right or wrong, needed or unneeded, government regulates commerce all of the time. Government will mandate, for instance, how much pollution may be released into the air, how many handicapped spaces must be included in a parking lot at a shopping center and whether warning labels must be used on particular products. Usually, these regulations do not cross the line into micromanaging private industry. Typically, politicians have not dared to tread into the realm of telling a business how it should operate and what it will or won’t sell. Apparently, the DeKalb County Commission doesn’t play by these time-honored rules. They recently stepped over the line by banning smoking in the private sector and began a new… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen People love trivia, so here’s a test: Describe the boundaries of your U.S. congressional district, as well as your Georgia House and Senate district. No clue? Don’t feel bad; outside of political operatives that keep district maps on their Palm Pilot, few people can pass the test. That’s why the biggest surprise for many voters on Election Day was not finding out the results of the election after they voted, but discovering what district they were in when they entered the voting booth. It’s bad enough that most voters can’t identify their elected officials, as Jay Leno so often points out with his “man on the street” interviews. But by creating these irregular shapes that we call… View Article
By Morgan Smith I. Summary In 2001, the Georgia Legislature convened a Study Committee in the House of Representatives to examine complaints raised by the state’s alcohol retailers about some businesses practices on the part of alcohol wholesalers. The subsequent examination of the state’s regulation of the alcohol distribution industry brought to light serious questions about the structure and value of economic protections provided to the wholesalers. It is widely accepted that state regulation of alcohol distribution is an important and necessary undertaking. But it is also clear that some elements of Georgia’s regulatory policy haven’t kept pace with changes in both the industry’s participants and the shape of the marketplace. As with all instances of state intervention in “special”… View Article

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

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Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes