Quotes of note
“Oftentimes, it’s not just about keeping the lights on or reducing carbon emissions. It’s about keeping people alive. Right now, out in the Midwest, nuclear power is doing all three.” – David Gattie
“The tax-cut package passed by Congress in December 2017 and signed by President Trump has given our economy a sizable boost. Lawmakers would be wise to lock in those gains by making those cuts permanent. For that matter, they should find other ways to reduce taxes on hard-working Americans.” – Edward J. Feulner
February 7: The deadline is Tuesday to register for “Romance of the Rails,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Toole on Thursday, February 7, at The Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta. $35. Information and registration here.
March 21: “Shining a Light on Government,” a Leadership Breakfast with Richard Belcher of WSB-TV in celebration of Sunshine Week on Thursday, March 21, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. $30. Information and registration here.
May 23: Mark your calendar for a Policy Briefing Luncheon with David French of National Review on Thursday, May 23, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. Details to follow.
Disconnect: States with low test scores don’t necessarily have low graduation rates, and vice versa, according to data released last week for the class of 2017. An analysis by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit education-focused news organization, found state test scores are less pegged to graduation rates than they were several years ago.
Kudos: The STEM programs at two Georgia schools ranked in the top 10 programs in the nation, according to Study.com. Kudos to Cobb County’s Wheeler High School, ranked No. 2, and Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology, ranked No. 8. (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.)
Energy and environment
Going nuclear: Nuclear energy delivered about 20 percent of the nation’s net electricity generation in 2018, according to the Energy Information Administration. During this week’s polar vortex, emission-free nuclear energy provided around 25 percent of the electricity generation fuel mix in the Midwest, according to regional grid coordinator PJM.
Economic Freedom: In the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, the United States finished 12th. In the Fraser Institute’s 2018 Economic Freedom of North America, Georgia ranked seventh in the United States. Now comes Reason Foundation’s U.S. Metropolitan Area Economic Freedom Index, ranking metro Atlanta 14th out of 52 metropolitan areas in spending, taxes and labor.
Economic outlook: Georgia ranks 11th in economic outlook in the 11th edition of “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index,” released Thursday by the American Legislative Exchange Council. That’s behind neighbors Florida (6) and North Carolina (7) but an improvement over its 17th place finish in last year’s rankings. The state ranks 14th in 2006-2016 economic performance rankings, trailing neighbors South Carolina (7) Tennessee (10) and North Carolina (11).
Taxes and spending
Sales taxes: Georgia’s state sales tax of 4 percent is among the lowest in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation. It ties tied with several other states to rank 40th-highest. Combined with the 3.29 percent average local sales tax rate, however, Georgia ranks 19th-highest in the nation. Tennessee’s combined sales tax rate of 9.47 percent is the highest overall in the nation. (Tennessee is one of seven states that do not tax personal income.)
Leading: Kudos to Foundation President Kyle Wingfield and board member David Allman, listed among the region’s influential in the inaugural list of Atlanta magazine’s “Atlanta 500: Our City’s Most Powerful Leaders.”
Choice: Nearly four times as many veterans could be eligible for private health care paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs under sweeping rules the agency is proposing. The rules, which will be open to public comment, would permit an estimated 2.1 million veterans to get private care if they had to wait more than 20 days or drive more than 30 minutes for a VA appointment. Source: Des Moines Register
YouTube: Did you know past Foundation events are available for viewing on our YouTube channel? Click here to view the Foundation’s National School Choice Week event Tuesday, “National School Choice Week: A Capitol Choice.” It’s one of more than 650 Foundation event videos available on the channel.
Every week, the Friday Facts visits the archives and shares a commentary from five to 25 years ago to highlight the consistency of our principles since the Foundation was established in 1991.
This month in the archives: In January 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Redistricting: An Opportunity to Put Policy Over Politics,” It noted, “Our democratic republic is at risk when the average citizen – even politically active citizens – cannot describe the boundaries of their U.S. congressional district, or their Georgia House and Senate district.”
Have a great Super Bowl weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.