Join us in Savannah on July 29! The deadline is July 27 to register for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s annual Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day event, noon at Vic’s on the River in Savannah. This Policy Briefing Luncheon is keynoted by Dr. Ben Scafidi, Georgia’s foremost expert on education funding, and is sponsored by the Friedman Foundation and the Georgia Charter Schools Association. $30. Find out more and register here.
October 15: Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who recently joined President Obama for a discussion on poverty, is the keynote speaker at the sixth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Thursday, October 15, at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. The theme is, “Wisdom, Justice and Opportunity.” Review the 2014 Forum here. Registration is $125 per person; an Early Bird rate ($100) applies until Friday, September 4. Register here. Sponsorships are available; contact Benita Dodd.
Quotes of Note
“[L]ack of money clearly isn’t the main challenge facing this district. The fact remains that the per-student expenditure of our public schools is every bit on par with every private school in the area, with the sole exception of Savannah Country Day.” – Savannah Morning News
“CON (certificate-of-need) laws are specifically designed to limit the supply of health care and are traditionally justified with the claim that they reduce and control health care costs. … For those seeking quality health care throughout Georgia, this means less competition and fewer choices, without increased access to care for the poor.” – Mercatus Center
“We have seen how the number of Americans on federal nutritional assistance (‘food stamps’) has skyrocketed in recent years. Some look at those figures and see great success. They say, ‘Hey, look!’ We helped all these people. Isn’t that fantastic?’ But conservatives in touch with their hearts will reply with incredulity: ‘We have sixty-some percent more people on food stamps five years after the end of the recession than we had at the beginning? That isn’t success. It is failure.’” – Arthur Brooks, “The Conservative Heart: How to Build A Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America”
Trash talk I: This week, DeKalb County reduced trash pickup from four times a week to once-a-week trash in an effort to save money and prevent rate increases. The annual $265 fee will not change. “Currently DeKalb County residents are experiencing Rolls Royce-kind of services but they’re paying Ford Focus-kind of rates,” DeKalb CEO Lee May said. The next step for DeKalb should be the Stephen Goldsmith “Yellow Pages Test:” If the phone book (or Google!) lists at least three private companies that offer a service the government provides, that service will then be opened to bidding.
Trash talk II: The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education rejected a trash pickup bid that would have saved the system nearly $4 million over 10 years, according to The Savannah Morning News. The editorial has some choice words about that decision and a pay raise for the superintendent, “at the same time there is a dire shortage of teachers in local schools, supposedly because the budget is too tight to hire any more. How many new teachers do you think could be hired with $4 million over 10 years?” The Foundation has some choice words, too: “parental choice.”
Fiscal condition: Georgia ranks 26th among the states for its fiscal health, based on its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, according to a new Mercatus study. Alaska is No. 1 and Illinois is dead last.
The value of money: The real value of $100 in Georgia is $108.81, according to the Tax Foundation. The states where $100 is worth the most are Mississippi ($115.21) Arkansas ($114.29) South Dakota ($114.16) Alabama ($114.03) and West Virginia ($113.12). In contrast, $100 is effectively worth the least in the District of Columbia ($84.96) Hawaii ($86.06) New York ($86.73) New Jersey ($87.34) and California ($89.05.)
CON lawsuit: The Goldwater Institute of Arizona is representing two Georgia surgeons who have filed suit over Georgia’s Certificate of Need law after the state denied them permission to expand their practice in Cartersville, Ga. Hugo Ribot and Malcolm Barfield sought to add an operating room at their Georgia Advanced Surgery Center for Women and allow other surgeons to use their facility. Read more about Georgia’s CON laws here; read about the lawsuit here.
This month in the archives: In July 1995, the Foundation published, “Rethinking Federal Taxation: Should the Government Have First Dibs on Your Pay?” It noted: “A consumption-based tax would reach the underground economy. Every time a drug dealer bought a car or every time a house painter bought a can of paint, they would be paying their fair share of the cost of our government.”
Foundation in the media: (Links included where available.) Harold Brown’s commentary on ozone regulations, “The Great EPA Ozone-Asthma Caper,” was published by The Pickens County Progress, the Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News. Nina Owcharenko’s commentary on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ObamaCare decision was published by The Columbia County News-Times, Coastal Courier, Bryan County News and Effingham Herald. Georgia Trend Magazine quoted Kelly McCutchen in “Who Won, Who Lost and Who is Waiting For Next Year.” The Atlanta Business Chronicle quoted Kelly McCutchen in, “Looming Court Ruling Threatens ObamaCare” his reaction to the ruling was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in, “ObamaCare Stands.” The Atlanta Voice quoted Kelly McCutchen in, “Georgia’s Permit Rules Keep Ex-Cons Jobless.” Kyle Wingfield cited the Foundation’s research in his Atlanta Journal-Constitution column, “Despite ‘austerity cuts,’ K-12 students make big gains.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Civil Asset Forfeiture: Property Rights’ Next Frontier,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.