August 23: Join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on Thursday, August 23, at the 1818 Club in Duluth for a Leadership Breakfast, “Policy Over Politics,” with keynote speaker Kyle Wingfield, the Foundation’s president. Welcome by Georgia State Rep. Brett Harrell, a longtime friend of the Foundation and Gwinnett County resident. 8 a.m. (Registration, networking 7:30 a.m.) $20. Register here.
September 7: Early Bird registration is open now for the 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum! This daylong event on Friday, September 7, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel will include sessions on health care reform, education innovation, pension reform and more. Register at the $75 Early Bird rate until August 12; see the agenda here to view our exciting lineup of participants! View last year’s program here.
Quotes of note
“The panoply of more than 20 welfare programs has become a substitute, not a supplement, for work. A Cato Institute study shows that the full package of federal and state welfare benefits could deliver more than $30,000 in benefits to a family – tax- and work-free. Why work?” – Stephen Moore
“No one thinks choice in higher education is wrong. So why is it wrong in elementary, or middle, or high schools? The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with that.” – Betsy DeVos
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington
Runoff elections: Georgia voters have finalized November matchups for statewide office. Brian Kemp won the GOP gubernatorial runoff and will face Democrat Stacey Abrams. Republican Geoff Duncan is expected to face Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico in the lieutenant governor race. For secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger will face Democrat John Barrow. In the state school superintendent election, Democrat challenger Otha Thornton will face incumbent Richard Woods. About 10 percent of Georgia’s 6.1 million registered voters turned out to vote.
Booting scooters: As “dockless” electric scooter rentals become ubiquitous, local governments are cracking down. Cities are concerned about the dockless aspect; riders are not required to park in a specific location or dock. The Atlanta City Council is considering how to regulate parking and the Beverly Hills (Calif.) City Council announced a six-month ban, citing public safety concerns. Source: Mass Transit
Federal gas tax hike? A U.S. House draft of a federal infrastructure plan calls for partial funding through a 15- to 20-cents-per-gallon increase in fuel taxes, phased in over a three-year period. At that point, the fees would be indexed to inflation before they are ultimately eliminated in September 2028. Source: The Hill
Ride-share: A new survey finds ride-share services popular among transit users: While 95 percent of weekly ride-share users surveyed take public transit, only 20 percent of weekly drivers do so. According to the Masabi survey, “This points to an urban mobility user base that is inclined to use shared public and private mobility options … and is already doing so in order to make full first-last mile journeys using public transit and ride-sharing.”
Loan forgiveness: The federal Department of Education plan to impose a stricter “fraud” standard for when student loan borrowers are entitled to have their federal loans forgiven will open for public comment next week. The plan is expected to reduce loan forgiveness to borrowers by $700 million a year compared with Obama-era policies, and to save taxpayers more than $12 billion over the next decade. Source: Politico
High deductibles: A new study finds younger people have the most medical debt, even as medical spending increases with age. Median annual health care spending is $3,056 at age 64, more than four times higher than the $727 for people age 27. But researchers noted that, “because most medical debts are relatively modest in size, insurance plans with high deductibles might have only a limited impact.” Source: Health Affairs
This month in the archives: In July five years ago, the Foundation published, “Oklahoma’s History with Income Tax Cuts: A Story of Growth.” It noted, “Whether letting citizens have more control of the fruits of their labor has an immediate impact on revenues is not the highest priority. The highest priority is letting citizens have more control of the fruits of their labor. Period.”
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.