Who We Are

Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians’ Lives – Since 1991

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, nonpartisan research institute.

Our mission is to improve the lives of Georgians through public policies that enhance economic opportunity and freedom.

We believe good public policy is based upon fact, an understanding of sound economic principles and the core principles of our free enterprise system – economic freedom, limited government, personal responsibility, individual initiative, respect for private property and the rule of law.

Since 1991, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has conducted scholarly research and analysis of state public policy issues and worked to educate citizens, policy-makers and the media. The Foundation is state-focused, independent, non-partisan and market-oriented in its approach.

The Foundation hosts more than a dozen events each year throughout the state that allow members to meet and discuss issues with political, education, media and business leaders. Past speakers include the President of the United States, U.S. Speaker of the House, Supreme Court Justices, U.S. senators, representatives, presidential candidates, ambassadors, state officials, governors, members of the national media and area business leaders.

Our Impact

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has championed ideas and public policies that have changed lives in Georgia for 25 years.

Education

  • Higher Standards – we helped lead the effort to dramatically increase Georgia’s K-12 standards in 2004 putting Georgia in the top ten according to several rankings
  • Charter Schools – we helped create Georgia’s first startup charter school law in 1996 and later improvements, we created a Charter School Resource Center to help communities start charter schools, and we actually started our own math- and science-focused charter school, Tech High
  • School Choice – Georgia is one of a handful of states with charter schools, special needs scholarships, tuition tax credit scholarships, and a wide array of online options  – all initiatives of the Foundation
  • Digital Learning – Georgia was recently ranked among the top ten states in digital learning
  • We created “No Excuses” schools to highlight high-achieving, high-poverty schools
  • We were one of the first states in the nation to publish a report card, the Foundation’s “Education Report Card For Parents” – today nearly every state publishes a report card

Taxes

  • Low Taxes – Georgia’s tax burden remains well below the national average
  • Elimination of the Georgia Intangibles Tax
  • Elimination of the Sales Tax on Energy Used in Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture
  • Elimination of the Georgia estate tax
  • Adoption of a single sales allocation factor for the corporate income tax

Regulation/Property Rights

  • One of the strongest laws in the nation protecting against eminent domain abuse
  • Civil Service Reforms impacting every state employee hired after 1996
  • Telecommunications deregulations that has led to a thriving telecom market
  • Elimination of burdensome professional licensing regulations
  • Regulatory cost/benefit analysis for small businesses
  • One of the few states in the nation to shift state employees to a hybrid pension plan, moving away from a pure defined benefit plan

Health Care

  • Georgia is a leader in implementing Consumer-Driven Health Care Reforms such as health savings accounts, wellness incentives, cost and quality data and defined contribution plans for small businesses
  • Georgia removed the state health care tax penalty by eliminating state income taxes on high-deductible premiums

Criminal Justice

  • The Foundation was a leader in the sweeping criminal justice reforms passed in 2012 and thereafter, which have become a national model with more than 20 states and the federal government following our lead

Government Spending

  • The Foundation has championed government transparency, leading to the creation of a state transparency database and disclosure of in-depth system- and school-level spending
  • Georgia is a leader in privatization of golf courses, water parks, hotels and conference centers, tourist attractions, prisons and many other government functions
  • The Foundation supported the City of Sandy Springs as it became one of the nation’s first “private cities” by outsourcing nearly all government functions

Who We Are

  • Kelly McCutchen / President and CEO
    Kelly McCutchen is a native of Ellijay, Georgia, and a graduate of Georgia Tech. He was Assistant Vice President in the Trust Department of Trust Company Bank in Atlanta before joining the Foundation in 1993.
  • Benita M. Dodd / Vice President
    Benita Dodd is a journalism graduate of Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, who immigrated to the United States in 1986. The Cobb County resident was an editorial writer and columnist for The Atlanta Journal Editorial Board and an editorial writer for...
  • Ross Coker / Research and Outreach Director
    Ross Coker earned his B.A. in political science at Auburn University in 2012 and his law degree at Pepperdine University School of Law in 2015. He is a member of the State Bar of California and practiced in Washington, D.C., before joining the Georgia Public Policy Foundation as Research and Outreach Director in 2016.

    Coker’s primary focus is the Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative.

Board of Trustees

  • Rogers Wade, Chairman
  • David B. Allman, Regent Partners
  • Frank Barron, Rome Coca-Cola (retired)
  • Gordon Beckham, McCamish Systems
  • Roy Fickling, Fickling and Company, Inc.
  • Robert F. Hatcher, Jr., H2 Capital, Inc.
  • Kelly McCutchen, Georgia Public Policy Foundation
  • Ray Padrón, Brightworth

Senior Fellows

Ron Bachman
Dr. Harold Brown
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
Leonard Gilroy
Dr. John Goodman
Ross Mason
Jim Kelly
Nina Owcharenko
Bob Poole
Dr. Benjamin Scafidi
Dr. Frank Stephenson
Dr. Christine Ries
Baruch Feigenbaum
Dr. Eric Wearne
Dr. Jeffrey H. Dorfman

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