Quotes of note
“Freedom is not synonymous with an easy life. … There are many difficult things about freedom: It does not give you safety, it creates moral dilemmas for you; it requires self-discipline; it imposes great responsibilities; but such is the nature of Man and in such consists his glory and salvation.” – Margaret Thatcher
“The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest functionaire possesses who wields the coercive power of the state, and on whose discretion it depends whether and how I am to be allowed to live or to work.” – Friedrich von Hayek
“Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them.” – John Stuart Mill
August 28: Seats will fill fast, so register soon for “Georgia Transportation: The Next Frontier,” a Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Georgian Club with Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum, who is a Reason Foundation transportation analyst. ($30.) Information: http://tinyurl.com/msf7j3z. Registration: http://tinyurl.com/ln9lmhv.
Mark your calendar: The fourth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum takes place Friday, October 11, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. Last year, hundreds of Georgia’s legislators, businesspeople and interested citizens attended to hear national policy experts discuss free-market solutions to Georgia’s challenges. Details soon.
Taxi drivers sue: The Foundation has long urged taxicab reform in Atlanta. No new taxi permits have been sold or issued since 1995, when the city capped the number at 1,600. Drivers must lease the permits from the approximately 22 taxicab companies that can legally obtain permits, and they say the companies generate $21 million a year on the weekly fees they charge drivers. The drivers are suing the city over the monopoly, saying they want to be able to form their own companies. Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle
User fees I: Oregon’s legislature has approved a mileage-based user fee (MBUF) program. According to Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation, “Assuming the governor signs the bill into law, Oregon will go down in history as the first state to begin the needed transition from charging drivers per-gallon to charging them per mile for highway use. Nearly 100 years ago, Oregon was also the first state to enact a per-gallon tax on gasoline as the funding source for its highways. Under the voluntary program, up to 5,000 drivers will pay 1.5 cents per mile rather than the state’s 30 cents per gallon gas tax.
User fees II: Two states have passed bills requiring alternative-fuel vehicles to pay an annual fee: $100 for electric cars in Washington state and $64 for hybrid and electric cars in Virginia. A New Jersey senator has proposed a $50 annual fee on electric and natural gas cars, with the revenue dedicated to highway and bridge maintenance. A bill in Arizona calls for a one cent per mile charge for electric cars, estimated to average $120 per year. The North Carolina Senate in May passed a bill calling for a $100/year charge for electric cars and $50/year for hybrids. And an Indiana legislative committee is looking into annual road impact fees for electric and hybrid cars. It’s time for Georgia to follow suit. Source: Surface Transportation Innovations
Times are changing: By 2018, almost two-thirds of all jobs will require some level of postsecondary education, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. Much of this growth will be in so-called “middle-skill” jobs, those that typically require short-term occupational training from a two-year college rather than a four-year degree. Meanwhile, nearly 40 percent of undergraduates are part-time. Andrew P. Kelly and Daniel K. Lautzenheiser of the American Enterprise Institute maintain that the shifting demographics, combined with technological advances that allow for distance learning, suggest a need to revisit many of the assumptions underlying the traditional place-based model.
ObamaCare ripples: Seventy-one percent of small businesses say the Affordable Care Act makes it harder to hire, according to a survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Among small businesses that will be impacted by the employer mandate to provide health insurance for employees, one-half of small businesses say that they will avoid the mandate by cutting hours to reduce full-time employees or replace full-time employees with part-time workers; 24 percent say they will reduce hiring to stay under 50 employees.
Mission creep: Under both the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to “disapprove” a state’s strategy to meet national environmental standards, effectively overturning the state’s effort. The EPA issued 44 disapprovals during President Clinton’s second term, 42 during President George W. Bush’s first term and 12 during Bush’s second term. During President Obama’s first term, the EPA issued an unprecedented 95 disapprovals, more than a 190 percent increase from the average number of disapprovals during the previous three four-year presidential terms. Source: American Spectator
Media and social media
Foundation in the News: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an op-ed by Senior Fellow Eric Wearne on the success of Latin Academy Charter School, which he chairs.
YouTube: Kelly McCutchen and Senior Fellow Christine Ries discussed tax reform with legislators this week at the Georgia State Capitol. Click on the links to view video coverage of Kelly’s pro-growth rationale for reducing the state’s 6 percent personal income tax rate and Georgia Tech economist Christine Ries urging legislators to earn back the public’s trust. At a sold-out Policy Briefing Luncheon in Athens last week, school choice expert Jay Greene described “petty little dictator disorder, which sometimes afflicts school choice reformers. From the Foundation archives: Two years before he became Florida Governor, Jeb Bush warned Foundation supporters that conservative policy success was not inevitable. Many of his themes still resonate today as conservatives fight to establish their credentials. Subscribe to the Foundation’s YouTube channel to make the best use of our resources: http://tinyurl.com/agkm5h5.
Facebook: View photos from the Athens Policy briefing Luncheon here. We’re at nearly 2,100 “likes” on the Foundation’s Facebook page; join us at facebook.com/GeorgiaPolicyto get daily policy news, views, updates, Quotes of Note and photos.
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The Forum: In Checking Up On Health, Benita Dodd writes about overused treatments, questionable referrals, misused payments, online shopping for surgery, Georgia’s most wired hospitals and who to follow on Twitter. Find this and other recent posts in The Forum, the Foundation’s blog, at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Oklahoma’s History with Income Tax Cuts: A Story of Growth,” by Jonathan Small and Dave Bond.
Have a great weekend.
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)