Friday Facts: July 22, 2016

It’s Friday! 

Ross Coker
Ross Coker

Then and Now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, we polled Georgia voters on the state’s budget and economy. “Among the changes they strongly support are: privatization, spending cuts and limits, term limitations, creation of strict ethics laws and creation of direct citizen initiative and referendum.” Twenty-five years later, we continue to work diligently on the fiscal issues important to Georgians.

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Guide to the Issues 2016: What policies should Georgia adopt on education? Find out the Foundation’s proposals for Georgia’s children. Learn more about transportation, health care, tax reform, criminal justice reform, welfare reform and more. Currently available online, each chapter includes principles for reform, facts on the issue, background information and, in most cases, positive solutions to the challenges facing Georgia. 

New staffer: Please welcome Ross Coker, the Foundation’s new Director of Research and Outreach! His primary focus is the Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative. You can reach him at rcoker@georgiapolicy.org and find out more here.

Quotes of Note 

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannize but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

“Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes …. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has been passed that benefitted either the environment or society.” – Jay Lehr 

Work requirements serve as a gatekeeper to ensure that those truly in need receive welfare assistance. Benefits are available to those who need them, but individuals who could otherwise find a job are directed toward work. This policy benefits not only taxpayers but also the individuals who are steered toward the job market, where they can build their resumes, skills and connections.” – Rachel Sheffield

Criminal justice reform 

Leadership: The Atlantic notes elected officials’ enthusiasm for criminal justice reform in Georgia: “In Georgia there is an official commission that keeps reloading new reforms every legislative session, and so in places like that, reform is sort of hard-wired. The politicians there have learned that making changes doesn’t lead to crime spikes that they will be blamed for, and the Republican establishment has pretty well put all its cards on reform.” 

Economic opportunity

Occupational license reform: Nearly one in three American workers require an occupational license from the government in order to work. Two Republican senators are working to alleviate overreach with the ALLOW Act. It would reduce the burden on military members and their spouses as well as workers and tour guides in the District of Columbia.

Health care

Losing proposition: Only about one-third of health insurers came out ahead in their first year in the ObamaCare marketplace, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund released Wednesday. While insurers made nearly twice as much money from healthcare premiums in 2014, overall profits “diminished noticeably” because of higher payouts. Source: The Hill

Costly expansion: Up to 5 million more Americans would have health insurance coverage if the 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid – including Georgia – were to do so in 2017, according to a new Urban Institute study. It put the number of enrollees in Georgia at 509,000, a 30 percent increase over the Obama administration’s estimate of 389,000 – which would raise the expansion cost, too, as Kelly McCutchen noted recently. Source: Georgia Health News

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In July 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Reservations About Suing Online Hotel Brokers.” It noted, “Unfounded class action lawsuits such as these damage the fabric of entrepreneurship and threaten business expansion.” The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that hotel brokers owe higher occupancy taxes but refused to make the payments retroactive.

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “’Guide to The Issues’ Offers Georgia-focused Solutions,” by Benita Dodd. 

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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