Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians' Lives
Since 1991
Friday Facts: February 14, 2014

It’s Friday!

Events

February 26: Tired of Washington’s out-of-control spending? The Foundation’s February 26 Leadership Breakfast focuses on the “The Case for the Compact for a Balanced Budget,” keynoted by Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute. The 8 a.m. event at the Galleria Centre in Cobb County is open to the public; registration is $25 per person. Find out more here; register online by Monday, February 24, at http://bit.ly/LewuTz. (Please note: This event is NOT at the Georgian Club.)

March 5: The Foundation celebrates 23 years of promoting liberty in Georgia at its Annual Dinner at the Cobb Galleria Centre. The keynote speaker is Daniel Garza, a first-generation American who is the inspiring executive director of the LIBRE Initiative. Find out more about Garza and the event here.

Quotes of Note

“Self esteem comes from achievements. Not from lax standards and false praise.” – Condoleezza Rice

“Find out just what any people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.” – Frederick Douglass

“We ‘the people’ adopted a written Constitution precisely because it has a fixed meaning, a meaning that does not change. Otherwise we would have adopted the British approach of an unwritten, evolving constitution. Aside from amendment according to Article V, the Constitution’s meaning cannot be updated, or changed, or altered by the Supreme Court, the Congress, or the President.” – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Education

Myths and facts: Former Gov. Sonny Perdue co-authored an op-ed about Common Core Standards in Bloomberg News. “The debate about the standards must be changed to ensure politics and mythology don’t derail a vital effort to improve opportunities for our kids as they are falling further behind their international peers,” it reads. “Too often, supporters of raising expectations for our students are refuting broad claims that have nothing do with why we brought together teachers, education experts and employers to develop the Common Core initiative.” Read the Foundation’s analysis of the standards here.

Regulation

Regulatory excess:  A report from the Competitive Enterprise examines the myths and facts surrounding the Jan. 9 chemical spill in West Virginia that affected 300,000 residents. It notes that some environmental groups are taking the opportunity to incite fear, propagating misinformation to pressure lawmakers into action. “[T]there are plenty of chemical laws and regulations on the books, but West Virginia state and local communities have not implemented them well,” according to the report. “Unfortunately, adding a new layer of regulation on top of what we have isn’t likely to fix the problem.”  

Transportation

Transit, traffic and weather: Public transportation was touted as the solution to the logjam caused by the ice and snow of Jan. 28. Smart growth advocates hope that the bad weather will be a catalyst for expansion, but mass transit would not have helped. Even trains are delayed in bad weather; MARTA kept its buses off the road Thursday, too.

Left at the station: Where light rail is built, it bleeds off funding for bus service. “Left at the Station,” a report based on interviews with low income commuters, details the additional burdens of cost, convenience, and raises concerns about gentrification. Source: American Dream Coalition

Reality check: In testimony at a recent congressional hearing, the Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole pointed out how federal capital grants appear to have led to increasingly costly light rail projects, from $12 million per mile for San Diego’s first (non-federally funded) line to today’s average New Starts-funded light rail line’s $50 million per mile, with some far higher (Portland at $204 million/mile and Seattle’s planned light rail subway at $628 million per mile). He recommended that Congress abolish New Starts, using that money instead for a formula fund, based on increasing transit ridership and fare revenue.

Energy and environment

Cause and effect: Hundreds of thousands of Georgia customers experienced power outages during the bad weather this past week. It’s to be expected in a region renowned for its tree cover. Ice weighs down trees; in many cases, utilities can only cut back so much because government-mandated arborists and local ordinances restrict their ability to remove enough to prevent damaging lines. When trees and limbs fall, especially in heavily populated areas, they can take down utility poles and disrupt power, telephone and cable service to thousands.

Health care

Lowballing: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) grossly underestimates when it predicts the economy will lose the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs because people will quit work, work less or postpone getting a job to avoid losing ObamaCare subsidies, according to Foundation Senior Fellow Christine Ries. Ries, an economics professor at Georgia Tech, believes that, “If the CBO had been able to add supply-side factors …the projection of job losses would have been much higher.” Source: RealClearMarkets.com

Just in case: Legislation introduced into the Georgia House of Representatives this week would prohibit Medicaid eligibility in the state from being expanded without the approval of the Legislature. House leaders maintain that they should have that ability because the House is responsible for the state’s budget. Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Media and Social Media

Foundation in the news: Benita Dodd was interviewed Monday (February 10) by Georgia Public Broadcasting about the state’s second round of preparations for the snow and ice after the icy jam of January 28.

Web site of the week: Watchdogwire.com is the Web site for Watchdog Wire, featuring the work of citizen journalists. This month: Find out about property seized to build a pond in Augusta’s Hyde Park.

YouTube: The Foundation’s YouTube channel views are now over 40,000. Stop by and see the latest!

Facebook: The Foundation’s Facebook page has more than 2,200 “likes.” Join us at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicy to view daily policy news, views, updates, Quotes of Note and event photos. Ask your high school or college student to like the Foundation’s Student Outreach Scholarship page on Facebook at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicySOSProgram. See our School Choice Week 2014 event photos here.

Twitter: The Foundation has more than 1,140 followers! Get your Foundation news at twitter.com/gppf.

The Forum:What Do Y’all Do?” is how so many callers start out as they seek the Foundation’s help, according to Benita Dodd. Foundation Editor Mike Klein reports on the progress of legislation affecting the Foundation’s policy issues, including criminal justice reform and foster care. Find these and more posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “With Health Care IT, Familiarity Breeds Content,” by Greg Scandlen.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd 

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