State of emergency: As Hurricane Matthew approached the East Coast, Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in 13 Georgia coastal and rural counties. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in the coastal counties of Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden. As you consider volunteering or contributing to relief efforts, be wary of scammers preying on your emotions and bank account. Vet requests carefully at charitynavigator.org and use reputable organizations.
Snooze you lose: A poll by the Insurance Information Institute shows that only 12 percent of Americans had a flood insurance policy in 2016, down from 14 percent in 2015. There’s a 30-day “prior requirement” before a storm to get coverage. A 2015 poll found that 95 percent of homeowners had homeowners insurance but only 40 percent of renters said they had renters insurance.
Don’t buy the hype: In the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, David Kreutzer explains that Hurricane Matthew’s landfall is a return to normalcy in hurricane patterns, not a sign of impending man-made catastrophe.
November 11: Join John Stossel of “Stossel” on Fox Business Network at the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award on Veterans Day. The Freedom Award will be presented to Dr. Michael H. Mescon, “The Pied Piper of Private Enterprise” (Wall Street Journal). Cobb Galleria Performing Arts Centre Ballroom. $150. Click here for information; reserve your seat here. (Checks accepted, too!)
December 8: Mark your calendar! Join Erin Hames, former education policy adviser to Gov. Nathan Deal, and former Georgia State Rep. Mike Dudgeon, a member of the Georgia Education Reform Commission, at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Leadership Breakfast analyzing education reform proposals for Georgia. Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $35. Details soon!
Quotes of Note
“Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.” – Thomas Jefferson
“It is useless for sheep to pass a resolution in favor of vegetarianism while wolves remain of a different opinion.” – William Inge
“If you wish to win a man over to your ideas, first make him your friend.” – Abraham Lincoln
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, the State Policy Network (SPN) had not yet formed. This week in Nashville, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation joined 1,300 colleagues from free-market think tanks around the nation at the 24th annual SPN conference!
Test of friendship: Almost half (47 percent) of Hillary Clinton’s supporters and 31 percent of Donald Trump’s supporters say they have no close friends in the other candidate’s camp. Seven percent of registered voters say they have had a major argument about this year’s contest, and an identical 7 percent say they have lost or ended a friendship because of this year’s campaign. Source: American Enterprise Institute
Taxes and spending
Losing: The United States has the fifth-least competitive tax system among industrialized nations, according to the Tax Foundation. The United States ranked 31st out of 35 countries on the Tax Foundation’s annual International Tax Competitiveness Index. Greece, Portugal, Italy and France were the only countries with tax systems less competitive. No. 1 was Estonia.
Governors: The Cato Institute released its annual Fiscal Policy Report Card on the Governors this week. It noted, “general fund revenues of state governments have grown 33 percent since 2010. Some of the nation’s governors have used the growing revenues to expand spending programs, while others have pursued tax cuts and tax reforms.” Just five governors got an A; 10 governors earned an F. Georgia’s governor was among 11 to receive a D.
Payday loans: About 12 million Americans use payday loans, on average about eight times a year. Nearly all – more than 90 percent – of those short-term transactions will be precluded by a proposed federal rule aimed at preventing rollover loans (refinancing them). These loans fill a real need for people, and regulators’ plans to impose restrictions are unjustified, the Competitive Enterprise Institute warns.
A sorry business: The U.S. Department of Labor has published a final rule implementing President Obama’s Executive Order mandating paid sick leave for federal contractors: up to seven days (56 hours) of paid sick leave annually, including paid family leave. The rule, which takes effect in January, is expected to affect 1.1 million workers. Critics worry it will lead small businesses to avoid federal contracts, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Overreach: The Federal Communications Commission, egged on by President Obama, continues to expand its control over broadband in the private sector, The Washington Examiner notes in an editorial. “In 2017, a newly-constituted FCC must return the agency to its legal confines. And a lighter-touch regulatory environment must be restored in order to unlock the digital communications market’s economic potential.”
Lessons in winning: Foundation staff attended the State Policy Network’s 24th annual conference this week in Nashville. The gathering facilitates the exchange of policy ideas and networking among the nation’s state think tanks. The recipient of the prestigious Roe Award was Clint Bolick, co-founder of the Institute for Justice who was president of the Alliance for School Choice and at Arizona’s Goldwater Institute before being appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court. In 2014, Bolick was the keynote speaker at the Foundation’s Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, sharing on Arizona’s Education Savings Accounts!
It’s criminal: Did you know that government seized more than $5 billion in civil asset forfeiture in 2014? It surpassed the value of burglarized items. Source: Cato Institute
This month in the archives: In October 10 years ago the Foundation published Kelly McCutchen’s testimony before the Georgia Senate Healthcare Transformation Study Committee. He asked, “If our policy goal is to encourage health insurance coverage, why should we tax it?”
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Obscure State Laws Hurt Patients, Make Hospitals Worse,” by Christopher Koopman and Thomas Stratmann.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)