July 29: Mark your calendar! The Foundation takes the annual Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day event to Savannah for a Policy Briefing Luncheon. The speaker is Dr. Ben Scafidi, Georgia’s foremost expert on education funding. $30. Register here.
October 15: Registration is open for the sixth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Thursday, October 15, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. The theme is, “Wisdom, Justice and Opportunity.” Review the 2014 Forum here. Registration is $125 per person; an Early Bird rate ($100) applies until Friday, September 4. Register here. Sponsorships are available; contact Benita Dodd.
Quotes of Note by Milton Friedman
“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
New Education Finance Rankings Released: As the Governor’s Education Funding Commission meets, it’s important to understand where we stand, especially compared to other states. Even before big increases in state education funding in the FY15 and FY16 budgets, Georgia’s total K-12 funding was $10,370 per pupil in FY13, according to the latest Census Bureau report released this month. Spending per pupil, excluding capital expenditures, was $9,099. These amounts ranked 38th and 37th highest nationally. As a percentage of personal income, Georgia’s funding ranked 14th and its expenditures ranked 12th. (Analyzing revenues and expenditures as a percentage of personal income can account for differences in cost of living between states.)
View our interactive data visualization of state K-12 funding, poverty rates and student achievement here.
Below is a sample visualization of states with above-average poverty. The chart compares the performance of low-income 8th-grade students in math compared to spending. Nevada, Florida, North Carolina and Texas score higher, but spend less than Georgia.
Criminal Justice Reform
“Despite civil asset forfeiture’s noble intentions, the many stories of innocent victims and law enforcement abuses prove that the pendulum has swung too far in favor of law enforcement,” says John G. Malcolm in a study published by the Foundation this month. John is the Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation and is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
Georgia passed a civil asset forfeiture reform this year. “While the new law places some spending limitations on the use of civil asset forfeiture proceeds and increased transparency by enhanced reporting requirements, it is light on protections for innocent Georgians,” say Jason Pye and Jorge Marin in a recent commentary.
What you won’t read in the media: The upcoming King v. Burwell Supreme Court decision could invalidate some health insurance subsidies (which could be replaced), but less focus is paid on the positive opportunities. Our Senior Fellow, Ron Bachman, notes “the ACA has failed to cover the 25 million uninsured as proposed. It has failed to lower costs by $2,500 per family as promised. You cannot “keep your doctor”, as promised. It penalizes small businesses that want to grow beyond 50 employees. It encourages larger groups to shift work to part-timers or outsource overseas. The added mandated insurance costs are pushing employers to replace human capital with robots and new technologies to lower employment costs. The working poor, who remain uninsured, suffered an average ACA uninsured penalty of $1,200. Without the ACA requirements, it is estimated that 11 million people will be freed from coverage mandates and find insurance at an estimate savings of $1,000 or more per family. In addition, 1.2 million people will be able to join the work force as full-time employees.” (You actually will read this in the media as Kelly McCutchen and Ron Bachman were interviewed this week for a feature in this Sunday’s AJC.)
This month in the archives: A decade ago, the Foundation published an overview of needed health care reforms, “Bold Legislation Can Cure Georgia’s Medical Woes,” by Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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To have an organization dedicated to the study of the problems that face Georgia in a bipartisan way….is absolutely one of the finest things that’s happened to our state.