Tag: Georgia Public Policy Foundation

As Georgia emerges from the recession, we face a great opportunity to reshape state government for the future. Rather than blindly funding the same ineffective programs, we can rebuild smarter, more efficient programs. ● Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly laid the groundwork in 2011 for the first fundamental change by establishing a panel of experts to review Georgia’s criminal justice system. The panel’s recommendations present a common-sense strategy to divert nonviolent offenders, especially those with drug or mental health problems, to more effective treatment and community-based options. This will help free up Georgia’s overcrowded prisons, reduce pressure on local jails and still protect people from violent felons. The significant long-term savings from lower incarceration costs will fund the… View Article
Civil asset forfeiture – which is defined as law enforcement’s authority to seize private property on the suspicion of a crime — has landed on the Georgia State Capitol doorstep.  This week the Georgia Public Policy Foundation called for a rewrite of the state’s asset forfeiture laws to protect citizens whose property was seized even though they are charged with no crime. “This issue is more of a threat to private property in Georgia than any other issue,” said GPPF President Kelly McCutchen.  “When you have an innocent owner who has done nothing wrong, hasn’t been convicted of a crime, has not been accused of a crime, and their own government seizes property without compensation, and they have to sue… View Article
In July 2012, the headline that throws the country into turmoil could just be, “Supreme Court Rules Against Health Reform; Now What?” If the 26-state lawsuit succeeds against the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, then what? Part or all of the federal law will immediately be null and void. Insurance laws will revert to the inadequate state laws that existed before. Even before the new law, there was bipartisan agreement that health insurance needed reforms. In Georgia, those laws created 1.8 million uninsured Georgians; fewer than one in 4 Georgians working in small businesses were insured. The battle cry is “repeal and replace” from federal politicians, but if the major responsibility for reform goes back to the states,… View Article
A state education finance commission composed of lawmakers and others inside the learning game has recommended Georgia abandon the “65 rule” that mandated school districts spend that percentage of state funds on classroom instruction.  “It doesn’t have any relevance to academic performance,” said commission co-chair Senator Fran Millar. Millar carried the 65 percent rule bill during former Governor Sonny Perdue’s administration as one more idea to improve learning in classrooms statewide.  Despite what he described as the 65 rule’s “well-intended impact,” state school Superintendent John Barge agreed with Millar that, “The research was very clear that it has not made any significant impact.” The recommendation was among dozens approved Wednesday when the education finance study commission held a public meeting… View Article
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

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has forged over the years many positive changes in Georgia, in its nonpartisan but very specific way.

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson more quotes