October 16: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher turns 87 on October 13. The Foundation marks the birthday of this remarkable leader with a Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Thatcher advisor and longtime friend John Blundell, who is author of, “Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of The Iron Lady.” This event is at the Georgian Club. Registration is $60 and includes a copy of Blundell’s book. Register by Friday, October 12, at http://tinyurl.com/7ldaqnk. Seating is limited; register early!
October 9: Georgia’s voter registration deadline is October 9. Stand up and be counted! To find out more, go to http://mvp.sos.state.ga.us/.
Quotes of Note
“It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense. … They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs.” – Adam Smith
“When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in the Soviet Union – like public housing in the United States – look decrepit within a year or two of their construction.” – Milton Friedman
Plan B Presentation: The Foundation’s framework for transportation, unveiled at the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on September 21, was described as “well thought out” by attendees. You can find the presentation and PowerPoint on the Foundation’s Web site at http://georgiapolicy.org/foundation-unveils-transportation-plan/. The Foundation has long held that one of the congestion solutions proposed for metro Atlanta is to divert through freight traffic off I-75 via a highway on the west side of the state. This week, Macon’s 13 WMAZ reported that Highway 74 from I-475 may hold the answer, connecting Macon to LaGrange for growing freight needs and providing an economic boost in the region.
Fast forward: Benita Dodd’s opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week predicted that higher highway speeds would prove safer as technology for autonomous “driverless” cars advances. This week, in “Who’s Behind the Wheel?” The Wall Street Journal reported how technology is enhancing Americans’ commute: “Twenty-five years from now, piloting one’s own vehicle will seem weirdly anachronistic and unnecessary, like riding a mule to the mall.” The Journal also reported on how smartphone technology can help travelers hail a taxi and avoid traffic jams. Of course, if you were in the transportation session at the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on September 21, you would’ve known all that already …
Taxes and Regulation
Unhealthy burden: The Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury have already issued thousands of new rules and regulations for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act including 40 notices, 17 regulations, five revenue procedures, two revenue rulings and 14 Treasury decisions. There are over 80 million hours of rules and regulations that American businesses and families have to comply with, reports U.S. Rep Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Running low: Federal grants to state and local governments totaled more than $606 billion in fiscal year 2011, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). State and local governments receive about 80 percent of federal grant funds, with the rest going to recipients such as nonprofits, research institutions or individuals. The GAO warned this week: “In a time of fiscal constraint, continuing to support the current scope and breadth of federal grants to state and local governments will be a challenge.”
But for Alabama: Last week, the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum focused on “Policies to Encourage Innovation in the New Economy.” How important is that for Georgia? This week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released estimates on state personal income growth for the second quarter of 2012. Nationally, personal income growth slowed to 1 percent, down from 1.7 percent in the first quarter. Personal income growth ranged from 2.1 percent in North Dakota (shale country!) to 0.4 percent in New Mexico. Georgia ranked 42nd with 0.8 percent personal income growth. Growth was 1.9 percent in the first quarter. But for Alabama (No. 43), Georgia would’ve been the lowest in the Southeast.
School choice can make a difference for K-12 students, and parents are the ultimate local control. See what happens when determined parents fight for their children’s education needs in, “Won’t Back Down,” which opens today in movie theaters across the nation. Watch the trailer here: www.federationforchildren.org/articles/732.
Civic education: Children’s faces are featured on a billboard on I-85 in Gwinnett County encouraging voter turnout among Asian immigrants. The sign’s sponsor is the Asian American Legal Advisory Center (AALAC). According to AALAC Executive Director Helen Ho, “Most first generation immigrants say, well you know, I came here for my children and their future. They will be leaders in America; they will be full Americans, and they will vote,” said Ho. “And what we’re trying to get everyone to understand is that, just like in every other thing, children model the behavior of their parents. The parents need to model civic leadership for their children and vote.” Source: WABE.org
Putting on the hits: The Foundation’s YouTube site has seen more than 1,000 views of our new education videos, which were presented at the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. Discussing access to public charter schools are teachers, students and others who have helped to push for more education options in Georgia. The Foundation’ will release another video next week. Watch, download and share these videos from the Foundation’s YouTube channel: Charter Schools Change Lives. What is a Public Charter School? Mary Goes to Charter School.
Stay informed: In November, Georgia voters will decide whether the state will share the responsibility of charter school authorization. The Foundation has a series of short educational articles focusing on voters’ questions: The Financial Impact of Charter Schools. What Are Charter Schools?Charter Schools and Local Control. How do Charter Schools Impact Minorities?
This Week in The Forum: in Checking Up On Health, the Foundation’s Benita Dodd discusses the fall health insurance open enrollment and the promise that two marketed anticancer drugs hold for Alzheimer’s disease. In a guest commentary, State Budget Solutions President Bob Williams writes about the questions states should ask themselves as they continue to make decisions about what they can and cannot afford. Read this and other recent Foundation articles and posts on The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
YouTube: This week the Foundation’s 100th video was posted on our YouTube channel!
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Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Choice, Charters and the Children,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend.
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