Friday Facts: April 3, 2015

It’s Friday!

Quotes of Note

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.” – George Washington

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his absolute mercy. And an authority directing the whole economic system of the country would be the most powerful monopolist conceivable…it would have complete power to decide what we are to be given and on what terms. It would not only decide what commodities and services were to be available and in what quantities; it would be able to direct their distributions between persons to any degree it liked.” – Friedrich Hayek

General Assembly

Sine die: The Legislature’s 40 days in session ended Thursday at midnight. Find an update on the bills that affected Foundation policy proposals on our Web site here; find our take on the transportation funding legislation here.

Events

May 14: Secretary of State Brian Kemp keynotes the Foundation’s 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Topic: “License to Work,” a focus on jobs, licensing and the role of government. Register here.

June 23-25: The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism’s Sixth Annual IHC Forum & Expo in Atlanta highlights the innovations and changes in health and benefits. Register by May 31 and save $100 with the early bird rate.

Taxes and Spending

We can do better: Georgia Tax Freedom Day arrives April 15, ranking the state 15th in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation’s annual report. Nationally, it arrives April 24. First in the nation is Louisiana (April 2); last are Connecticut and New Jersey (May 13).

Wasteful spending: Citizens Against Government Waste has issued its annual report on Prime Cuts to pork-barrel spending, with 601 recommendations that would save taxpayers $639 billion in the first year and $2.6 trillion over five years.

Learn the books: April is Financial Literacy Month. Visit the Georgia Council on Economic Education’s Web site. GCEE prepares teachers to teach economics in inspired ways, so that students grow up to be economically literate citizens. Did you know that Georgia is one of just 17 states that require a high school course in Personal Finance?

Health care

The cons of CONs: Since 1979, Georgia has been one of 36 states and the District of Columbia with certificate-of-need (CON) programs that limit entry or expansion of health facilities, traditionally justified with the claim that they reduce and control health care costs. A new study by the Mercatus Center finds serious consequences for Georgia continuing to enforce CON regulations, which restrict competition and choice.

Energy and environment

Solar energy: On March 13, the Foundation published a report on the clouds over solar energy in Dublin, Ga. Nearly two weeks later, Dublin’s hometown newspaper finally reported some of what was happening in its backyard. This week, The Macon Telegraph picked up some of the story, too. “The need for sunshine is doubly apparent when the media appear to be selective in what they’ll report to taxpayers,” Kelly McCutchen said. “There are lessons to be learned across the state from projects such as these. Policy-makers and taxpayers deserve to know.”

Big Solar: In an op-ed about solar energy in The Hill, Lance Brown of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy notes, “Big Solar has come under fire from various fronts, with a spate of studies raising troubling and well-deserved questions about consumer fraud, ballooning tax subsidies, and pricing policies that deliver plenty of economic pain for questionable environmental gain. … But Big Solar has mostly attacked the messengers, not disputed the facts.”

Transportation

Streetcar: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced this week that Streetcar fares would not be implemented as expected on April 1. Instead, rides will continue to be “free” through the end of the year. According to news reports, even at “free” the ridership failed to meet projections. Read more on the “revival” of streetcars here.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In April 1995, the Foundation published, “Alternatives for Tort Reform in Georgia.” It noted: “The attitude of ‘I’ve been injured, so someone must pay; it was someone’s fault other than my own,’ has become a too-prevalent part of the American psyche. Bad luck is no longer acceptable. Victims of it must be compensated.”

Media

Foundation in the news: The Coastal Courier and Watchdog.org published, “Pay attention: National energy policy hits home, too.” The Columbia News Times and Coastal Courier published Senior Fellow Jeffrey Dorfman’s commentary, “Will lawmakers trust citizens who elected them, open markets?

The Forum: In “Checking Up On Health,” Benita Dodd shares news on “balance billing,” coping with high-deductible health plans and how many ER physicians order unnecessary tests.

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

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “The Bitter Battle over Bogus Butter,” by Harold Brown.

Have a great Easter weekend and Passover! 

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd  

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