Tag: Georgia Public Policy Foundation

The Georgia school choice story sometimes appears to need new faces and voices other than the usual suspects – politicians, teachers, charter school leaders and, yes, even policy folks who continue to push the pedal for increased school choice options. Many new faces and voices tell their stories in a terrific film that will premiere Thursday evening at the Cobb Galleria Centre with remote showings at locations statewide.  “Making the Grade in Georgia: Educational Freedom and Justice for All” packs a lot into one half-hour.  Regardless of where you stand on school choice, this film should be watched because it educates. Public admission to Thursday’s Cobb Galleria Centre premiere is free.  The Making the Grade in Georgia website has details… View Article
Georgia’s eleventh-hour cancellation of a toll concession project on managed lanes along I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties is a decision with enormous ramifications. It impacts mobility for one of the region’s most congested corridors, the thousands of jobs that would have been created in the process, and future opportunities to attract private investor partners to fund and expedite much-needed infrastructure. The state Department of Transportation calls public-private partnerships “a critical element of Georgia’s plans for sustainable investment in transportation.” Now fingers are being pointed in numerous directions over the cancellation of the promising west by northwest corridor, a move that astounded the three companies on the short list to build the billion-dollar project then manage the 60-year… View Article
Georgia should establish a small business health insurance marketplace outside the “additional layers of cost, complexity and rigidity” associated with federal health care reform mandates. That is the recommendation from a twenty-five member committee appointed by Governor Nathan Deal.   The political question will soon become:  Should Georgia begin that process now or wait until after next summer’s highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court health care reform decision? The Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee report issued Monday proposed development of an exchange “through private or limited quasi-governmental means” as either a non-profit or public corporation.  The report did not establish a timetable.  A minority view said the 2012 Legislature should “authorize a basic structure for an individual health insurance exchange” that… View Article

CAPCOs: Higher Costs + Fewer Jobs = Risky Idea

It’s an ugly secret that Georgia is losing talent, tax revenues and jobs. While the state is a “technology and scientific research powerhouse, 92 cents of every venture capital dollar invested in Georgia companies comes from out of state,” according to testimony last month by the executive director of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech, Stephen Fleming. “We lose many smart entrepreneurs and promising startups to other states because venture capital firms want a closer eye on their investments,” Fleming said. Why is this important? Startups like these are responsible for all of the net new job growth in the U.S. over the last three decades, according to the Kauffman Foundation. If legislators are truly focused on “jobs, jobs,… View Article
That the progress in improving this nation’s air quality is hidden in hazy environmental reporting is no surprise: How would one notice improvements when only “problems” are emphasized? Unfortunately, headlines such as, “Kids with asthma head indoors during smog season” and “September smog violations highest in a decade” do nothing to convey the reality; they skew perception. Visibility in the Eastern United States, which has always been the worst, has improved dramatically in the last three decades. Yet as late as 2004, the New York Times called the view in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park “a pollution-rich brew of sulfates that scatter light and small particles that obscure it.” It’s no wonder 93 percent of Americans polled in 2007… View Article
Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November fell below 10 percent for the first time since June and the state is celebrating the largest one-month rate decline in 34 years.  Flip the coin and Georgia has exceeded the national rate for 52 consecutive months.  Almost one-half million Georgians are officially counted as unemployed. The state reported 9.9 percent official unemployment in November, down three-tenths of one percent from October.  Some but not all improvement is related to holiday season temporary hiring.  “We had the best November since 2007 for retail hiring, while seeing gains in the financial and business sectors,” said state labor commissioner Mark Butler. Georgia reported 467,722 official unemployed in November, down from 486,609 one year earlier.  State… View Article
Georgia was ranked 48th — third from the bottom nationally – beating out just Utah and Arizona – in a federal analysis of personal health care spending per capita, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.   The report analyzed all spending, not just government budget expenses. Georgia personal health care spending at $5,467 per capita in 2009 was well below the $6,815 national average.  Ten-of-twelve southern states were below the national average.  Alabama ($6,272) joined Georgia in the bottom ten states as did two of the most populous states — Texas ($5,924) and California ($6,238).  Most New England states were above average. Personal health care spending annual… View Article
Next month the Georgia legislature will begin to consider whether substance abusers who are not a public safety risk should receive a stay out of jail card. How lawmakers decide the question could slow down runaway costs and impact state corrections policy for decades. Last month the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform said options – notably, more drug courts and treatment plus more day reporting centers — could reduce state prison population growth.  Drug courts are part of an accountability sentencing movement that includes mental health courts and veterans’ courts.  Here is what the council said about substance abuse: “In 2010, Georgia courts sent more than 5,000 lower-risk drug and property offenders to prison who have never been to… View Article
Georgia appears prepared to make significant changes to its unemployment benefits program, changes that could have an impact on Georgians without jobs.  Options under review at the State Capitol include a waiting period that would delay the first check, fewer total state benefit weeks and reducing the maximum weekly benefit dollars. Some combination of these three ideas or others is possible.  Governor Nathan Deal’s chief spokesman Brian Robinson said, “The governor is looking at several options that we’ll discuss with legislators once the 2012 session begins.”  Lawmakers return in January but the real work to get key issues ready for the General Assembly has been underway for months. Georgia’s “official” unemployment rate is 10.2 percent, well above the 8.6 percent… View Article
A grandfather whose grandson is in middle school asked the boy what he enjoyed most about his classes.  The boy said manufacturing class because he liked to create things.  In the often abstract and vague world of middle school, manufacturing class made sense. That begs the question:  Have we become so focused on traditional subjects, test preparation and achieving wide varieties of state or federal standards that we risk losing the kids when they can no longer relate to what they are learning or apply it to their lives? My middle school experience included building things in eighth grade wood shop.  When you measure the angles correctly and cut the wood precisely, you can build a table.  The lessons learned… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes