Friday Facts: November 9, 2012

It’s Friday!

Quotes of Note

The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” – Justice Louis D. Brandeis

“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare. … [G]iving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.” – Thomas Jefferson

“This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.” – Mitt Romney

“Voters can’t just cast ballots and think they have solved these problems. They must stay engaged.” – Cal Thomas

Events

January 24, 2013: Just one week after attending the national Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting, Robert W. Poole will keynote, “Moving Georgia Ahead: What’s Coming Down the Pike,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Poole, a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, is a co-founder of the Reason Foundation and its director of transportation policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow. He will provide an update on the outlook for transportation policy, funding and innovation amid fiscal constraints and partisan politics, and outline Georgia’s options for mobility and congestion relief. Registration for this event is $25; register here: http://tinyurl.com/y27h3dk.

Education

Georgians for school choice: Opponents tried to suggest segregation was a motive for Amendment 1 to allow state authorization of public charter schools. The constitutional amendment passed with more than 58 percent of the vote. The vote wasn’t by party affiliation, and a striking number of minority voters around the state supported the amendment to allow their children more public education options.

In other education news … Six other states had education questions on the ballot on Tuesday. Supporters of charter school creation appeared to be ahead this time around in Washington state, where charter schools were previously rejected twice. Nationally renowned education reformer Tony Bennett lost his Indiana state school superintendent’s race against a union-supported candidate. Source: EducationNext

Focus on education: The Michigan state budget for 2012 incentivized school districts to solicit bids from third-party vendors to provide support services, among other best practices.  It appears to have worked, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy reports. This year, 61 percent of all school districts contract out for food, custodial or transportation services, based on a recent survey. That is a 13 percent increase over 2011. Georgia might want to consider similar efforts. A recent study showed that public school administrative and other non-teacher personnel increased 74 percent in Georgia from 1992-2009, during which time the number of students grew just 41 percent.

Economy

Jobs and regulation I: A report by American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates the growing industry is short of up to 25,000 truck drivers, largely impacting long-haul, over-the-road truckload carriers. If current trends continue, the shortage could be as high as 239,000 drivers over the next decade. In addition to industry growth, retirements and drivers voluntarily changing careers, ATA cites government regulations that will exacerbate the driver shortage. On average, ATA says, trucking will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers every year to keep up with demand for drivers, with nearly two-thirds of the need coming from industry growth and retirements. Source: Material Handling and Logistics

Jobs and regulation II: Now that the elections are over, what will employers be confronting? Jay Krupin, a partner with law firm BakerHostetler and an expert on labor-management issues, cites six issues they must deal with: unions, a bigger public sector workforce, new action from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, pension law modifications, wage and hour issues and ObamaCare. Source: IndustryWeek.com

The fiscal cliff: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia delivered his first post-election speech at Atlanta’s Commerce Club Thursday, predicting that Congress will reinstate the 6.2 percent employee payroll tax when it meets starting next week to address the looming “fiscal cliff” of mandatory tax increases and federal government budget cuts. Isakson predicted Congress will spend the next year focused on significant reforms to taxes, entitlement programs and spending.  As for those across-the-board federal program cuts due to take effect in January, Isakson said he takes President Obama at his word that they won’t happen.

The entitlement cliff: This nation faces more than a “fiscal cliff;” it faces a massive “entitlement cliff,” too. Just how alarming this challenge has become is the point of a new commentary from the Institute for Policy Innovation, “The Coming Entitlements Cliff.”

Media and social media 

This week in The Forum: Foundation wrote about a new study from Georgia Tech economics professor Christine Ries, who found local school systems that enroll nearly nine out of 10 public school students would experience increased resources when a student transfers to a new or existing state charter school. Foundation Editor Mike Klein discussed which arguments worked and which did not work for Georgia voters who approved the charter schools constitutional amendment on Tuesday. Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner looked past the election and down the road to Obamacare implementation 

Foundation in the news: Benita Dodd’s commentary on charter schools was published as an op-ed in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, part of a package on election issues. Her commentary was also quoted in the Athens Banner-Herald on November 3. On Wednesday, WXIA-TV interviewed me on what’s next after voters approved the constitutional amendment to allow state authorization of charter schools.   

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Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Teamwork Will Move Georgia Transit Forward,” by John Keys. 

Have a great weekend. 

Kelly McCutchen  

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