Tag: Mike Klein

Governor Nathan Deal has unveiled a package of tax reforms and tax credits that he says are essential to make Georgia the number one state in the nation to do business.  One theme was familiar – reducing the energy tax on manufacturing – but other elements were new from the Competitiveness Initiative Task Force that the governor announced one year ago. “Today, in executive offices right here in Georgia, business leaders are making the business decision to  expand manufacturing activity and facilities in neighboring states,” Deal said at the state Chamber of Commerce “Eggs and Issues” breakfast.  “Every time they make that decision, we miss out on new investment in our communities and new opportunities for Georgians.” Deal’s address to… 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
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 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
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 Foundation’s positions are well thought out and are often ahead of their time.

State Senator Jack Hill more quotes