Friday Facts: February 6, 2015

It’s Friday!

Events

February 18: Find out what matters in transportation funding for Georgia at, “Transportation Money Matters,” the Foundation’s February 18 Leadership Breakfast. A panel discussion by Kelly McCutchen and Baruch Feigenbaum of the Reason Foundation will tackle Georgia transportation and funding solutions. $30. Find out more here; register online here.

March 18: “Federalism, The Rule of Law and Regulatory Excess,” is the topic of the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. $30. Register online by Monday, March 16, here.

Quotes of Note

“The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.” – Thomas Jefferson

“[A]s it becomes clearer that there are no simple, easy and politically expedient ways to find the revenue to fund a long-term transportation bill at current spending levels, evidence of the states’ growing fiscal capacity to fund transportation on their own will no doubt become highly relevant in congressional consideration of the size and scope of future federal involvement in surface transportation.” – Kenneth Orski

“For most children … the local public schools are doing a great job educating children and preparing them for the future. But that’s not necessarily the experience for all students. Even in an A+ school, a child can have an F experience. Anyone who has children knows that no two are alike, so why should we force them all to be educated in the exact same way? Education Savings Accounts are an innovative approach to delivering a customizable, 21st Century education, giving families access to a diverse portfolio of options so they can find the absolute best fit to meet the individual needs of their child.” – Georgia State Rep. Mark Hamilton

Government

Scattered, smothered and weathered: Waffle House may not be everyone’s benchmark for fine dining, but we love the 24-hour eatery. So does the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which uses Waffle House as a weathervane to judge the seriousness of a disaster. Source: WABE.org

Whose money? Local governments are using your tax dollars to make “charitable” contributions. This week, Tybee Island became the latest overreaching government to consider increasing contributions to nonprofits from $57,902 this year to more than $100,000 next year.

The Georgia State Capitol, photographed Thursday from the top of the Sloppy Floyd building, shows the new Liberty Plaza occupying the space where legislators once parked. Legislators now park in the gray building to the left of the Capitol, the old DOT building with its marble façade preserved in its conversion to a parking deck. Two helicopter landing pads are atop the building.
The Georgia State Capitol, photographed Thursday from the top of the Sloppy Floyd building. The green space is the new Liberty Plaza occupying the space where legislators once parked. Legislators’ parking is now in the gray building to the left of the Capitol, where the marble façade of the old DOT building has been preserved. Two helicopter landing pads are atop the building.

Transportation

Private solutions: In 1980, when a transit strike halted buses and subway trains throughout New York City, residents in marooned parts of the city started using their own cars and vans to pick people up, charging a dollar to shuttle them to their destinations. The dollar vans still thrive today. Source: New Yorker

All decked out and nowhere to go: Since 2010, Michigan has paid $1.1 million a year to lease 23 refurbished passenger rail cars for two proposed commuter rail projects. None of the cars has logged a single commuter passenger mile and there is no funding or operator yet for either service. The project consultant has been paid $1.1 million; the taxpayer tab is approaching $12 million. Source: Detroit Free Press

Health care

Hacked: Anthem reports that hackers have accessed personal information for approximately 80 million former and current customers and employees, Affected plans include Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink and DeCare. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

Tennessee rejects Medicaid expansion: A Tennessee Senate panel shut down Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare Wednesday, the third day of a legislative special session called solely for that issue. Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform outlined the reasons Tennessee should reject expansion in a Forbes article.

Kudos to Georgia: The National Center for Policy Analysis has highlighted the Foundation’s study citing Georgia’s leadership in telehealth!

Charity Care: Georgia has one of the largest and most successful charity care networks in the nation. Building on the success of Georgia’s tuition tax credit in education, Sen. Judson Hill has introduced a similar tax credit to support charity clinics to serve indigent and uninsured individuals. Capped at just $2 million, the impact on individuals and savings for taxpayers makes this a timely idea.

Education

School choice: Nearly 6,000 students have been awarded scholarships through the District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program since its inception in 2004, and approximately 90 percent of the scholarship’s high school seniors go on to attend two-year and four-year colleges.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In February 1995, the Foundation published, “Telecommunications and Georgia’s Competitive Advantage.” It noted, “In a free market, there ought not to be government guaranteed rewards.”

Media

Foundation in the news: Georgia Health News published Kelly McCutchen’s op-ed, “A Smarter Way to Make Health Care More Available in Georgia.” You can read it here.

The Forum: Benita Dodd’s, “Checking Up On Health,” focuses on vaccinations, testing for doctors and the latest sleep recommendations.

Web site of the week: AccountingToday.com offers financial news and tips, important as tax season approaches. One example: the most affordable online accounting master’s degrees. (In Georgia, Shorter and Georgia State University make the list.)

Social media: Please “like” us (Facebook), join us (twitter.com/gppf) and share us (Friday Facts)!

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “Clearing Up Confusion over Transportation Funding,” by Kelly McCutchen.

Have a great weekend! 

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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