Friday Facts: August 5, 2016

 

It’s Friday! 

Then and Now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, Georgia poultry plants were in their ninth consecutive year of record-setting production: 867.3 million broilers. The state continues to be a record-holder. Last year, it was 1,339,600,000 broilers with a production value of more than $4.25 billion!

Events

August 22:  Register now for “Across the Pond: A Policy Update,” the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club on Monday, August 22. The keynote speaker is British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford.  $35. Information here; register online here.

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.

Quotes of Note

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.” – Yogi Berra

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams, Address to the Military, 1798

“Officeholders are the agents of the people, not their masters.” – Grover Cleveland

Education

Negative media: The tone of press coverage of charter schooling became more opinionated between 2005 and 2015, according to an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute. It found that in 2005, 73 percent of articles were neutral and 12 percent were negative. By 2015, 53 percent were neutral, and 28 percent were negative. This occurred even as public opinion of charter schools became dramatically more positive.

Tax reform

Growing tax collections trigger corporate rate cut: The corporate income tax rate will drop to 3 percent in January. With this tax cut, the state’s corporate tax rate will have dropped by more than half since 2013, when it was 6.9 percent. Also in January, the personal income tax rate will drop from 5.75 percent to 5.499 percent. Sorry, this isn’t about Georgia. It’s North Carolina.

Increase Social Security Benefits? Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation has a great idea on how to increase Social Security benefits: Eliminate the income tax that Congress imposed on them in 1983!  Social Security benefits are simply the government returning taxes workers have already paid. As he says, “Congress deemed it appropriate to tax a previous tax it was returning.”

Billion-dollar mistakes: What happens when government makes a tax error? About $15.6 billion in federal Earned Income Tax Credit payments were issued improperly in fiscal year 2015. That’s 23.8 percent of payments, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Economy

Minimum wage: The results are in and they aren’t what supporters had hoped for. Researchers found that the minimum wage increased wages, as expected, but also that it “appears to have lowered employment rates of low-wage workers.” The long-term results could be worse. Source: Foundation for Economic Education

Health care

DPC costs less: Arkansas’ “private option” Medicaid expansion dramatically improved access to care, but cost taxpayers an extra $1,297 per person per year, according to the Government Accountability Office. In contrast, two years of data showed savings of nearly 20 percent after individuals in Washington State were enrolled in direct primary care

Medicaid twice the price: The cost of Medicaid expansion in 2015 ($6,366 per enrollee) was nearly 50 percent higher than government officials predicted just one year before, according to the annual report on Medicaid’s finances.

Transparency fail: Georgia is among 43 states to receive an “F” grade for health care transparency in the fourth annual report by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute. Colorado, Maine and New Hampshire were the only states to receive an “A”. According to the report, Georgia needs to commit to price transparency. “At the very least, post to a website the data the state is collecting. Currently, limited information is available, and the law is not clear on how it must be shared.”

Help the Troops: Georgia entrepreneur, Jeff Whitmire, is spearheading a project to help our troops stay cool this summer as well as benefiting the Georgia-based Warrior Alliance. Find out more and how you can help by visiting the Towels for the Troops site.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In August 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Telemedicine Teleports Rural Residents to National Forefront.” It noted, “Today, rural Georgia is at the cutting edge of medical innovation, thanks to an initiative that brings the problem to health care experts while keeping the patient close to home: telemedicine.”

Media

The Forum: Read an article by John Graham of the National Center for Policy Analysis warning against congressional overreach on telemedicine.

Foundation in the News: 11 Alive News interviewed Benita Dodd about Georgia’s mythical “15th District Congressman.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Jackson Progress-Argus cited the Foundation’s viewpoint on sales tax holidays. (Hint: We think they’re inadequate as tax reform.) The Rome News-Tribune published Benita’s commentary on Rome’s free clinic.

Follow us! The Foundation has 3,000 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,644 followers at twitter.com/gppf. Follow us on Instagram, too!

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “A Bipartisan “Yes” On A Health Care Tax Credit,” by John R. Graham.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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