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Quotes of Note
“Not enough citizens are schooled well on the Constitution. Many can recite the Declaration of Independence, who signed, and list the Articles and Amendments, but lack a deep understanding of how these directly affect and protect the quality of our lives.” – Sue Horn Chappell (publisher/editor, StarNews of Caroll County)
“[T]he not-so-hidden secret about occupational licensure laws is that they enable incumbent providers to protect their own incomes by locking newcomers and competitors out of markets by artificial government force.” – Walter Olson
The moral tragedy is that Medicaid is low-quality health insurance. Proponents say that at least enrollees have coverage, yet it is unfair to forced millions of Americans into a poor insurance plan. Many studies, including the high-quality study from Oregon, show Medicaid is no better than not being insured, and in many cases it’s worse.” – Roger Stark, MD
Accountability: Ensuring that “the cost causer is the cost payer,” as one utility put it, is a great idea for government projects. AT&T’s Kevin Curtin told lawmakers the utility has had to file suit to get reimbursed $5.8 million for moving equipment for the Atlanta Streetcar. The Streetcar’s planned expansion would increase the cost to AT&T and its customer with litigation their only recourse, he warned. We’ve warned numerous times that government projects tend to ignore cost constraints; utility customers should not have to suffer.
Even in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott is denouncing what he characterizes as an overabundance of regulations implemented at the local level in Texas: “Texas is being California-ized with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans. …We are forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that are eroding the Texas Model.” Source: Daily Signal
Up, up and away: Health benefit plan rates for members of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (Georgia’s association for county governments) increased an average of 25.57 percent in 2014, ACCG reports. The plan covers 100 counties and “county-affiliated entities” with nearly 40,000 employees and dependents. Source: Georgia County Government
HSAs: We’ve long cited John Goodman as the “father of Health Savings Accounts;” now, Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, writing in Forbes, says Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is claiming credit. That’s OK, because the think tank world cares about results, not credit!
Energy and environment
Savings: From 2007-2013, increased U.S. production of crude oil and natural gas led to a 47 percent decline in natural gas prices. That was a $13 billion annual drop in residential consumer gas, or $200 per year for gas-consuming households. Prices at the pump dropped at least a dollar a gallon over the past eight months, Investor’s Business Daily reports, adding a “$100 billion windfall a year into motorists’ pockets.”
Internships: Time’s running out to apply for college internships! Send your student to the Foundation’s Student Outreach Scholarship page on Facebook to find openings!
Poverty: We mentioned the inspirational success story of Georgia Works last week as effort to help homeless men achieve independence and success as taxpaying citizens. In another example of private enterprise helping people achieve self-sufficiency, a woman’s design idea gives hope and jobs to homeless women. Source: Dumpest
Road diets: The Georgia Department of Transportation has placed restrictions on Avondale Estate’s plans for a “road diet” removing two lanes from a five-lane state road, U.S. 278, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Read the Foundation’s commentary opposing road diets here.
Watch this space: The keynote speaker at the Foundation’s next event is Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Topic: “License to Work,” a focus on jobs, licensing and the role of government. Details will follow as soon as the event date is set.
This month in the archives: In March 2001, the Foundation published, “New Water Proposals Not Supported by Adequate Science.” It pointed out that, “a large amount of water ‘impairment’ – the National Academy of Sciences estimates 25-60 percent – may be due to natural causes, having nothing to do with agricultural or any other type of human activity.”
Foundation in the news: An article in The Federalist highlighted the Foundation’s leading role in criminal justice reform in Georgia. Senior Fellow Jeffrey Dorfman’s article, “Will Georgia legislators trust citizens who elected them?” was published by The Columbia County News Times, Watchdog.org and The Coastal Courier.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Pay Attention: National Energy Policy Hits Home, Too” by Benita Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is something that I am proud to be a part of today. The research conducted by education groups like yours is invaluable in helping form opinions and allowing people to reach conclusions that ultimately help them make the right decisions.