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Friday Facts: January 24, 2014

January 24, 2013 

It’s Friday!

Jan. 26-Feb. 1 is National School Choice Week! In just four short years, National School Choice Week has mushroomed nationwide from 150 events in 2010 to more than 5,500 this year.

Today’s the deadline! Register now for “School Choice and Georgia: An Update,” the Foundation’s 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast on Tuesday, January 28. In celebration of National School Choice Week, the panel discussion at Cobb County’s Georgian Club features three of Georgia’s leading education experts: Eric Wearne, Jim Kelly and Ben Scafidi. The first 50 people to register for this event will receive their very own school choice woobie – and you can wear it to the School Choice Rally at the Capitol that day! This event is $25 to attend. Find out more at http://tinyurl.com/ovkzx7g; register online at by close of business today at http://tinyurl.com/poode79. (Student scholarships available to this event.)

Quotes of Note

“I believe that if Martin Luther King and A.D. King were here they would say ‘Do what’s best for the children.’ It [school vouchers] may sound radical, but so were they … Is it moral to tax families, compel their children’s attendance at schools, and then give no choice between teaching methods, religious or secular education and other matters?” – Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr.

Education

Taxpayers love school choice: The Georgia Department of Revenue reports the 2014 tax credit cap for was met this week. By January 22, Georgia taxpayers had claimed all $58 million of 2014 Student Scholarship Organization education tax credits – a mere three weeks into the year!

Buying into IT: The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report this month on how well schools are placing technology into classrooms. More than 50 percent of the 27 school districts interviewed indicated that the most difficult part has been getting teachers to buy into the programs. Many teachers struggle to implement the technology efficiently and lack experience in using the devices. Forty-one percent of districts said that school funding was their biggest hurdle.  

Events 

Mark your calendar: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s February 26 Leadership Breakfast will focus on the “The Case for the Compact for a Balanced Budget Amendment,” 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. Details to follow.

Health care

Is CON a con? State Certificate of Need (CON) laws drive up costs, restrict health care access and should be abolished, according to Jordan Bruneau, a research analyst for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). Georgia is among 36 states, along with Washington, D.C., that require health care providers seeking to offer or expand their services must obtain a Certificate of Need. These permits derive from a 1974 law – the National Health Planning Resources and Development Act – that was an attempt to keep health care costs down by preventing maldistribution of health care resources. That law was repealed 12 years later when it did nothing to reduce health care costs. A 2007 Foundation commentary focused on CON; read it here.

If you like your plan: Target announced this week that it is ending health care insurance for its part-time workers on April 1 – the day after open enrollment for 2014 closes under the Affordable Care Act. According to the company, many of its part-time workers may prefer coverage from the federal health law’s exchanges, and by offering them insurance, “we could actually disqualify many of them from being eligible” for subsidies under ObamaCare. The country’s second-largest retailer said it will give workers $500 to help find a plan under ObamaCare. Source: Bloomberg News

Tax and spending

Individual accountability: The Netherlands, which built one of the world’s largest welfare states, is trying to reduce welfare dependency, says Michael Boskin, a professor of economics at Stanford University. Welfare recipients now must work or perform volunteer community service while receiving benefits. Even if a job requires a long commute, the system requires that recipients take that job. Source: Project Syndicate

Meanwhile, in France: Until recently, socialist French President François Hollande campaigned on a platform defending government spending, maintaining social benefits, and high taxes on the wealthy, writes Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman of the University of Georgia. “So when President Hollande announced he now wanted tax cuts on businesses and cuts in government spending, the news caused tremors throughout the world of economic policy-makers. Even more devastating for those pushing for more government spending as the solution, President Hollande specifically said that only businesses could create jobs and revive growth. Somewhere, Paul Krugman probably cried.”  Source: Forbes.com

Income equality? In long-run perspective, living standards have improved for the poor and middle class even as income inequality has grown, according to Scott Winship at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. He maintains that, contrary to claims that rising income inequality has hurt inequality of opportunity, the evidence of a link between the two is weak.

Energy and environment

Energy mix: America is becoming too reliant on natural gas, says Mark Perry, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Overdependence on natural gas could expose Americans to soaring electricity prices, as natural gas has a history of price volatility. The United States needs a mix of energy sources to keep the country from relying too much on a single power source. Expanding nuclear power would provide stability in the long-term. Source: Investor’s Business Daily

Media and social media

Web site of the week: Visit Citizens Against Government Waste, at www.cagw.org, a taxpayers’ watchdog sight that highlights waste at the federal level. Its Porker of The Month page is worth a view!

YouTube: Find Foundation Editor Mike Klein’s coverage of civil asset forfeiture legislation and juvenile justice reform on the Foundation’s YouTube channel this week. According to Klein, prosecutors and sheriffs largely prevailed in changes they sought, with the HB 1 substitute published this week changing key components from what was considered in 2013. House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard shared his views on the legislation in this video. In an exclusive interview, Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles and Judge Steven Teske discussed juvenile justice reform. View these and other Foundation events at http://tinyurl.com/b7a3mzk. 

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.

Twitter: The Foundation has 1,130 followers! Get your Foundation news at twitter.com/gppf.

The Forum: This week, Mike Klein reports that Georgia wants to rejoin the Interstate Compact for Juveniles, a key part of how states coordinate the transfer of juvenile offenders across state lines.  Benita Dodd’s “Checking Up On Health” this week highlights ObamaCare alternatives, the challenging costs of physician training and the varied costs of giving birth, among other current health care stories. Find these and more posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Georgians Embrace School Choice,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd 

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