Friday Facts: July 23rd, 2010

It’s Friday!

 

Quotable

– “The king’s cheese is half wasted in parings; but no matter, ’tis made of the people’s milk.” –  Benjamin Franklin

– “According to a study by the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., has the highest concentration of smart people in the United States. Let’s see: We have a mess in the Gulf, we have a dysfunctional Homeland Security, and we are $13 trillion in debt. Imagine how bad it would be if these people weren’t geniuses.” –  Jay Leno

 

Education

– Back to school: Georgia’s new retirement opportunity has some teachers considering a classroom return, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Some Georgia charter schools will offer a new perk –  a 401(k) retirement plan with immediate coverage â€“ to hire college graduates, displaced teachers and those transferring to classrooms from business careers. Under Georgia’s traditional defined benefit plan, a member can draw full benefits after 30 years of service or after 10 years of service if 60 and older. In 2008, Georgia became one of only a handful of states offering employees the choice of a hybrid retirement plan – part defined contribution, part defined benefit – but this option is only available to state employees, not teachers.

 

Land use

– America’s love affair with suburbia is far from over, despite the hopes of political progressives who favor using regulatory and fiscal tools to promote urban densification, says Joel Kotkin, a presidential fellow at Chapman University. Over the past decade the percentage of Americans living in single-family homes and suburbs has increased. “Demographic trends, including an oft-predicted tsunami of Baby Boom ’empty nesters’ to urban cores, have been misread.” Some 75 percent of retirees are sticking to the suburbs; the percentage of immigrants settling  in urban areas has declined. And while well-educated younger people in their 20s and 30s find an allure in the urban core, just 18 percent consider it an ideal place to live and 43 percent prefer the suburbs in the long term. Source: Wall Street Journal

 

Health

– The IRS will have its hands more than full trying to administer the requirements of the new federal health care law, the Washington Post reports. “Some of this is just beginning to sink in to the minds of the public,” writes Greg Scandlen of the Heartland Institute. “In 2012, every business, including sole-proprietorships, will have to issue a 1099 to anyone from whom it buys $600 worth of goods or services. … When I try to explain this to business groups, they invariably reply, ‘No,  that can’t possibly be right. You mean if I buy $600 worth of paper from Wal-Mart in the course of a year I have to get their IRS number, the address of the corporate accounting office, send them a 1099 and another copy to the IRS?’  Yep. That’s exactly what it means. ‘What does this have to do with health care? What is wrong with these people?’ I don’t know, but the Tax Advocate Service estimates that 40 million businesses will be affected. And no money was appropriated to cover the cost.”

– Thanks to ObamaCare, Arizona expects increases of up to 37 percent in monthly health insurance costs for its state and university employees with families. Arizona’s Department of Administration cited federal health reform as the reason the state’s health plans will carry “greater expenses and higher premiums.” A letter to about 135,000 state and university employees and their dependents cites two provisions: the requirement that plans provide coverage for dependent children up to age 26 and the ban on lifetime limits. Source: Arizona Republic

 

Taxes

– Georgia’s elimination of its back-to-school sales tax holiday is “a move in the direction of sound tax policy and more lawmakers should consider eliminating sales tax holidays, regardless of the condition of their state’s budget,” says Mark Robyn, staff economist for the Tax Foundation. “Don’t be fooled by claims that brief tax holidays boost the state economy. The products typically targeted in sales tax holidays are things people would be purchasing anyway, like school supplies. Any increase in business during the holiday is largely due to a shift in the timing of purchases (not to mention the natural rush that occurs before the start of the school year), not an overall increase in economic activity.” Source: Tax Foundation

 

Litigation

– There is growing evidence that tort costs in the United States are far greater than in other countries, and that much of the difference is due to excessive litigation and lawsuit abuse, according to the 2010 U.S. Tort Liability Index by the Pacific Research Institute. The state that has the best tort rules on the books (and that will be heading in the right direction if the rules are fully implemented) is Oklahoma, followed by Texas, Ohio, Colorado and Mississippi. Rhode Island occupies the bottom of the barrel, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Illinois. Georgia ranks 28th on this list. Read the full report here: http://tinyurl.com/39krdnj.

 

– Visit www.gppf.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Its Time to Listen to Health Care Consumers,” by Ronald E. Bachman.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Kelly McCutchen

 

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