For the second consecutive year, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been named one of the world’s “Best Independent Think Tanks” by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. The Foundation is just one of three state-based, free-market think tanks ranked in that category in the 2018 Global Go-To Think Tank Index Report, compiled annually by the program and published last week. Help keep us there by supporting us financially! Click here.
Quotes of note
“We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals.” – George Washington (1786)
“What once helped to diminish ancient prejudices was the American creed that no one had a right to discriminate against fellow citizens on the basis of race, gender, class or religion. And what fuels the return of American bias is the new idea that citizens can disparage or discriminate against other groups if they claim victim status and do so for purportedly noble purposes.” – Victor Davis Hanson
“It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights.” – Benjamin Franklin
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.
Trenching and retrenching: Atlanta is one of about a dozen metropolitan areas where Google Fiber is laying fiber cables and signing up new customers. Google Fiber is ending service in Louisville, Ky., however, amid problems with “shallow trenching,” a process using trenches just two inches deep to deploy gigabit internet in Louisville in just five months, drastically outpacing rival AT&T Fiber in laying fiber. Louisville service will end on April 15. Source: CNET.com
Up, up and away: Estimated Medicaid outlays for fiscal year 2017 were $592.2 billion, of which $370.6 billion was financed by the federal government and $221.6 billion by the states, according to the Government Accountability Office. “Over the next seven years, Medicaid expenditures are expected to increase significantly, reaching just over $1 trillion in 2026,” according to testimony from U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.
How long will you live? Did you know the Social Security Administration has a life expectancy calculator for individuals? Try it here. Compare the results with this calculator by Blueprint Income, which asks for a little more than your age and gender.
Rural access: Mercatus Center scholars offer a host of state reform ideas that could improve medical access for rural areas. Among them: allow and encourage telemedicine; scrutinize scope of practice laws, which “can artificially increase the physical distance” between patients and providers, and consider certificate-of-need (CON) law reform, which hinders access by tightly controlling which new health care services can be provided.
Going downhill: As of the end of fiscal year 2018, the multiemployer program insured about 11 million workers and retirees in about 1,400 private sector defined-benefit plans created through a collective bargaining agreement between two or more employers and a union. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal corporation that insures the pension benefits of most private sector defined benefit plans, estimates a greater than 90 percent chance the multiemployer program will be insolvent by 2025. Source: Government Accountability Office
Meeting needs: Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft do not allow anyone under age 18 to ride without an accompanying adult. Still, many working and busy parents need personalized transportation for their teens. Atlanta’s Buckhead-based Autter is filling that role. “Our company now has 35 contracted drivers and we are averaging 10 to 12 rides a day with the average ride being 45 minutes and costing $25 to $28,” according to a news release from Autter. Source: Marietta Daily Journal
Taxes and spending
High sales taxes: In fiscal year (FY) 2017, the highest state sales tax collections per capita were found in Hawaii ($2,269), the District of Columbia ($2,045), Washington ($1,959), Nevada ($1,586), South Dakota ($1,225), and Florida ($1,208), the Tax Foundation reports. Hawaii and South Dakota have broad sales tax bases that include many services, contributing to high collections per capita.
Low sales taxes: The lowest state sales tax collections per capita are found in Virginia ($469), Colorado ($531), Alabama ($545), Georgia ($549), and Missouri ($590), according to the Tax Foundation. It notes, “In these states, a combination of low rates and relatively narrow bases contributes to low collections per capita.” As we noted last week, the Tax Foundation reports Georgia’s state sales tax of 4 percent is among the lowest in the nation.
YouTube: Did you know past Foundation events are available for viewing on our YouTube channel? Click here to view the Foundation’s January event, “National School Choice Week: A Capitol Choice.” More than 650 Foundation event videos are available on the channel.
Foundation in the media: Listen here to Cato Senior Fellow Randal O’Toole’s interview Thursday, January 7, with Tim Bryant of WGAU-AM. The Heartland Institute quoted Benita Dodd in an article on occupational licensing reform. The Atlanta Business Chronicle quoted Kyle Wingfield in an article on the debate about Medicaid expansion in Georgia.
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, “Forcing Firms To Keep Jobs Stateside Could Hurt Georgia,” It noted, “The focus for the few Georgians who may lose their jobs should be on education: increasing the pool of creative, knowledgeable workers who can fill high-paying jobs so that we reduce the number of lower-skilled workers whose repetitious jobs can be done elsewhere.” The Technical College System of Georgia is performing admirably in this area.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “What Does Transit ‘Access to Jobs’ Actually Measure?” by Baruch Feigenbaum.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.