Quotes of Note
“Rather than looking to our celebrities or other influential figures, it’s time to look around us. The family structure builds strong character among men and women, which furthers strong communities, and which collectively creates and sustains a strong nation.” – Armstrong Williams
“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” – Joseph Story (1833)
“Do you,” said I, “do you always work up the ‘deductions’ after this fashion in your own case, sir?” “Well, I should say so! If it weren’t for those eleven saving clauses under the head of ‘Deductions,’ I should be beggared every year to support this hateful and wicked, this extortionate and tyrannical Government.” – Mark Twain
Guide to the Issues 2020
Solutions for Georgia: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has published the “Guide to the Issues 2020,” 13 chapters of Georgia-focused policy proposals for policymakers. Distributed by the Foundation to legislators and candidates since 1996, the Foundation’s Guide to The Issues is published online this year. It tackles K-12 education, higher education and pension reform as well as healthcare, long-term care, Medicaid and tort reform. The Guide also provides a state fiscal overview and policy ideas on tax reform, welfare reform, occupational licensing reform and criminal justice reform. Each chapter has been published in full on the Foundation’s website here and is linked to a printable PDF version.
Getting better: Georgia’s job numbers are still significantly down from a year ago, but the state has now recovered about half the jobs that vanished with the COVID-19 shutdown this spring, according to University of Georgia economic forecaster Jeff Humphreys. Source: Athens Banner-Herald
Counting the money: The U.S. Census Bureau published results of its 2018 survey of state and local governments on revenue, expenditure, debt and assets (cash and security holdings). According to preliminary data, Georgia’s 2018 state and local revenue totaled $91.67 billion. Nationwide, state and local government revenues increased 4.1% over 2017. Expect COVID-19 to put a damper on the survey of 2020 numbers.
COVID-19 status update: Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Wednesday that extends the state’s COVID-19 public health emergency until November 9 and the pandemic-related restrictions on the state through October 15. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports 7,063 COVID-19 deaths as of Thursday afternoon and more than 319,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic’s start. The department updates the information daily at 3 p.m. Visit the website here.
Solutions I: “One of the biggest political cons of the past decade is the left’s claim that only ObamaCare could keep these Americans [with pre-existing conditions] from being deprived of healthcare,” a Wall Street Journal editorial noted Thursday. “In fact the law’s regulations and mandates have often resulted in narrow networks and high out-of-pocket costs for patients who most need good and affordable care.” The Foundation is signatory to a consensus letter by national policy experts on healthcare reforms; read it here.
OPM: The Department of Justice announced a $6 billion, nationwide crackdown on healthcare fraud resulting in charges against 345 individuals, including executives, physicians and nurses. Among those charged were 86 peoples in a scheme to fraudulently bill Medicare and other government payers for telemedicine services to the tune of $4.5 billion. Ten accused in Georgia include three medical professionals alleged to have a role in at least $1.45 billion in fraudulent telemedicine claims. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Down to the wire: The U.S. Senate approved a continuing resolution Wednesday and President Trump signed it Thursday, avoiding the possibility of an October 1 government shutdown. The Continuing Appropriations Act funds the federal government through December 11. It also extends by one year the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that had been set to expire September 30. This maintains 2020 level of public transportation funding despites massive declines in transit usage. Source: MassTransitmag.com
House and home: The 2019 American Housing Survey (AHS) released in September, shows that median homes cost three times as much as median family incomes. Click here to watch the 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum panel discussion on housing affordability.
Election miscellanea: The electorate in this year’s elections will be the most diverse and well-educated electorate in the nation’s history, according to New American Economy, which reports that immigrants now make up nearly 1 in 10 voters nationwide. Visit the online portal for Georgia voters to request an absentee ballot. Check the state’s My Voter Page for where to vote. Track your absentee ballots and get updates on the status of the ballots on the new new BallotTrax system. Source: News reports
This month in the archives: In October 25 years ago, the Foundation published, “Privatization: Dispelling the Myths.” It noted, “Are there instances where private contractors have taken advantage of taxpayers? Of course, but the great majority of these situations occurred when governments rushed into privatization without establishing the necessary safeguards.”
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Guide to the Issues 2020 Offers Innovation for Georgia,” by Chris Denson.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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