Then and Now
My, how we’ve grown: In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, the state’s population was under 6.5 million; today, it’s more than 10 million. Meanwhile, Georgia’s married households declined from 55.2 percent of households in 1990 to 47.9 percent in 2010.
MONDAY is the deadline to register for, “Georgia Criminal Justice Reform: Looking Ahead, Staying Ahead,” an 8 a.m. Foundation Leadership Breakfast Wednesday, February 17 at the Georgian Club. The speaker is Judge Michael P. Boggs, co-chairman of the Criminal Justice Reform Council. Information here; register here.
March 10: Mark your calendar for, “At the Intersection of Education and Aging,” an 8 a.m. Foundation Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club with Dr. Matt Ladner, Senior Advisor for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Details to follow.
Quotes of Note
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” – Samuel Adams, 1781
“I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” – Benjamin Franklin
“I’m a pragmatist. I get out in my automobile and drive. I’m contributing to it (carbon dioxide emissions). I certainly like my electricity. I’m sitting here at my computer, and it is powered by electricity supplied by Georgia Power. Ideally we would have no petroleum-fueled automobiles. Ideally we would have no coal-fired plants, but that electricity has to come from somewhere.” – Dr. William Tietjen, professor emeritus of biology, Georgia Southwestern State University, in the Milledgeville Messenger
School choice: A Georgia Superior Court judge has turned back a challenge to the state’s tuition tax credit scholarships, holding that tax-credit eligible donations are constitutional and constitute private funds, not public expenditures. Read more from the Cato Institute. This year, Georgians’ contributions to the program reached the $58 million cap on the first business day of 2016, January 4.
More school choice: Harvard researcher Martin R. West explains in an article for Education Next that focusing on standardized test scores alone understates the benefits of school choice programs; research shows a greater likelihood of high school graduation and college enrollment, especially for urban minority students.
To be or not to be government-run? Peachtree City was considering municipal high-speed broadband at a cost of $3.23 million, including $365,000 in annual debt service for 10 years plus $100,000 per year in operating expenses: $465,000 per year. After the Foundation and Chris Butler of Watchdog.org shone a light on the boondoggle, the city recently voted to go with a private provider, NuLink, at a total annual cost of $165,820. That’s less than half the debt service alone! When we reported on this, we were accused of misrepresenting the plan. Source: The Citizen
Energy and environment
Halting overreach: The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the Clean Power Plan pending a lower court’s ruling on a challenge. Georgia is one of 29 states and several groups and companies challenging the plan. The Foundation testified against the plan at a November 2015 Atlanta hearing and warned this year, “The EPA must not be allowed to intimidate Georgia into any premature implementation of this allegedly ‘flexible’ plan.”
MARTA rail expansion: The Georgia Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee, chaired by Sen. John Albers, held a hearing this week on legislation for a local countywide sales tax increase to fund transit, including an 11.9-mile MARTA rail line expansion along Georgia 400. Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum, who was invited to testify, outlined alternatives.
Gridlock Guy: Mark Arum, Gridlock Guy for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, backs technology over transit for congestion relief: “Much like the advent of the automobile and the plane was a death knell to passenger rail transportation, I think we will soon see a technological change in automobiles that might prevent a majority of our traffic woes and therefore decapitate the current, most pressing need for mass transit.”
The dignity of work: Maine recently implemented work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents who want to receive food stamps – a job, training or community service. Within three months, the caseload was reduced by 80 percent. (Georgia’s work requirements began in January.) Source: Heritage Foundation
This month in the archives: In February 2006, the Foundation published, “Telework: Transporting Workers into a Global Economy.” It noted, “Just a dozen years ago it was considered avant garde for an organization to allow employees to work from home. Today, increasing numbers of employees are quietly migrating away from noisy distracting offices to crank out productive work wherever they happen to be.”
Foundation in the news: Sally Sears of CBS46 interviewed Benita Dodd about the new toll lanes planned in metro Atlanta. Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi was quoted by the Heartland Institute on the Georgia Education Reform Commission’s recommendations.
Visit http://www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Government Trails, Technology Triumphs in Transportation Policy,” 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.