Category: The Forum

The 5 Amendments Explained

By Kyle Wingfield If you’re confused about the five proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot, you’re not alone. The brief, vague descriptions on the ballot offer little explanation what exactly the amendments will do if approved by a majority of voters. The following is the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s interpretation of the amendments; voters should conduct their own research and come to their own conclusions. Amendment 1: Creates the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund The idea is to dedicate up to 80 percent of the sales-tax revenues from outdoor sports and recreation equipment to protect and preserve green space. State officials estimate more than $50 million per year in tax revenues from these sales, so some $40 million… View Article

Friday Facts: October 19, 2018

It’s Friday! Events November 8: Mark your calendar for “Brew & Review,” an evening of perspectives on the November 6 election outcome. Hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on Thursday, November 8, at 7 p.m. (Networking begins at 6:30 p.m.)  Details to follow. November 14: Mark your calendar for a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon tackling trade and how international trade impacts Georgia. Guest speakers are Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, and Jay Neely, vice president of Law and Public Affairs for Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. Georgian Club. (Registration, networking begin at 11 a.m.) This event is a partnership of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation; seating is limited. Details… View Article
Jeffrey H. Dorfman Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and sustained major, hurricane-force winds as it entered southwest Georgia’s agricultural heartland. It appears the losses to Georgia agriculture alone will exceed $2 billion. This unprecedented hit may require similarly unprecedented responses from the private sector and government. As of this writing, I estimate Georgia cotton growers suffered $550 million in losses. Worse, Georgia pecan growers suffered $560 million in lost crop, damaged and destroyed trees, and lost future income while waiting for replanted orchards to mature. Georgia vegetable farmers also suffered heavy losses, perhaps over $400 million. Topping even that, Georgia timber owners may have lost $1 billion, with 250,000 acres completely lost and 750,000 acres with varying… View Article
By Evgenia Sidorova  The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia alarmed legislators and stakeholders when it requested over $588 million in increased contributions in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions combined, largely the result of missed actuarial assumptions. Given such a steep rise, the relatively small $25 million budget increase requested for 2019 may have signaled to some that things might be turning around for the troubled pension plan. But this would be mistaken, according to a new report published by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation that finds the Georgia TRS has several shortcomings that could further degrade its long-run solvency. The pension system currently has $24.8 billion in unfunded pension liabilities,… View Article

Friday Facts: October 12, 2018

It’s Friday! Quotes of note “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass “This is a free country, and people are free to believe anything they wish. But life in this country will grow steadily less free if fundamental elements of fairness, like the presumption of innocence, are simply jettisoned when an accusation is made by someone who says with seeming sincerity that she was sexually assaulted. Or when a serious accusation is made against someone who happens to belong to a disfavored group.” – Jeff View Article

Medicaid Expansion, ‘Free’ Money That Costs a Lot

By Dave Emanuel “The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for Medicaid expansion through 2016. After that, it will drop to 90 percent by 2020.” How can you beat a deal like that? Apparently, policymakers in 33 states don’t think you can. They have expanded Medicaid coverage under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for Medicaid expansion, virtually anyone with annual earnings at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible. What is left unsaid is that it is anybody’s guess what options are available to a Medicaid recipient whose income rises to 139 percent of the qualifying level. Consequently, the specter of losing coverage or having… View Article

Friday Facts: October 5, 2018

It’s Friday! Quotes of note “The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that.” – John Adams “Ultimately, faculty members have to remember that while our own research, service, and activism are important to us, our institutions exist to educate students and to help them to achieve their ambitions, not our own.” – Joseph Watson Elections Register: Georgians who plan to vote in… View Article

Friday Facts: September 28, 2018

It’s Friday! Subscribe to the Friday Facts here. Support the Foundation and its mission here. Quotes of note “The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy.” – Benjamin Franklin “As all procrastinators know, the longer you delay what you should be doing – and the closer to the deadline you let yourself go – the sloppier the final product will be, the more opportunities you’ll miss and the less you’ll be able to meet your goals. Now Congress finds… View Article

Georgia Benefits from Nuclear Plant Expansion

By Steven Biegalski The nuclear reactor expansion project at Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, near Augusta, has been plagued by troubles: Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy, construction delays and cost overruns. Fortunately, completion of the project is still commercially viable. Moreover, it will have numerous benefits to the citizens of Georgia and to the nation as a whole. The price tag for Vogtle Units 3 and 4 has ballooned. As a reminder, costs also soared for Vogtle’s Units 1 and 2, initially estimated at $1 billion and ending up costing about $9 billion during an extended construction period of about 13 years. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy led to the scuttling of a similar project in South Carolina last year. Given the three-decade gap in U.S.… View Article

Georgia’s Teachers Retirement System

Georgia TRS: Historic Solvency Analysis and Prospects for The Future  By Jen Sidorova and Anil Niraula Project Directors: Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation Kyle Wingfield, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) surprised many during the 2017 legislative session by requesting an additional $223.9 million in annual funding, then did so again in 2018, requiring an additional $364.9 million in contributions. The nearly $600 million in annual increases to teacher pension funding have been necessary in large part because of growing unfunded liabilities – colloquially known as pension debt – which were reported at $23.6 billion in 2016. Since then the debt has grown to $24.8 billion, but in contrast with previous years TRS requested a relatively… 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