Friday Facts: August 27, 2021

It’s Friday!


Quotes of note

“All of us should be on guard against beliefs that flatter ourselves. At the very least, we should check such beliefs against facts.” ― Thomas Sowell 

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”― Sylvia Plath

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”  ― Winston Churchill


On Our Desk

Missed Milestones: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield addresses some major problems with the Georgia Milestones exams.

30 for 30: In celebration of Georgia Policy’s 30 years of advancing freedom in our state we’re asking our friends to give $30 today. Will you join us?


Events

Countdown to 30: In less than a month, we’ll be celebrating three decades of Georgia Policy! On September 16, Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley will be joining us with a fascinating keynote. Tickets are going fast. Secure yours today here: www.georgiapolicy.org/dinner.


Health 

Hydrate or oxygenate? The mayor of Orlando has asked city residents to conserve water to help preserve liquid oxygen for medical use for covid patients, according to NBC News. Liquid oxygen is used in the water purification process as well as therapeutically for Covid patients. Mayor Buddy Dyer said, “Demand for liquid oxygen is extremely high as the priority is to use it to save lives and to treat critically ill patients. There are impacts to the supply that (Orlando’s utility commission) normally receives.” If use doesn’t decrease, he warned, water quality could suffer.

On Guard: As the Delta variant continues to surge in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has deployed 105 medical staffers from the Georgia National Guard to assist hospitals. They will be sent to 20 different hospitals in Georgia. Earlier this month, Kemp announced the state would spend $125 million to provide 1,500 additional healthcare workers to short-staffed hospitals. Source: Fox 5 Atlanta


Transportation

85 problems: The Georgia Department of Transportation and Gwinnett County are reviewing multiple options to fix traffic congestion on I-85 between I-985 and the Perimeter. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “these ideas include building more toll lanes, rebuilding interchanges and improving nearby roads. They also include transit, bike and pedestrian trails and other improvements to aid travel along the corridor.” Anyone interested in seeing the study or attending the meetings can find more information here.


Education

Private struggles: Many of Georgia’s private schools avoided turning to remote instruction last year, unlike some of their public counterparts, but the new Delta variant of the coronavirus is making that harder to maintain. Infection rates of the variant among children have been higher than with previous strains. Some private campuses have reinstated mask mandates and separated students into cohorts to limit the number who must quarantine due to a close contact with an infected person. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Housing

Corners cut? Engineers consulted by the Wall Street Journal say it’s unlikely a single problem brought down the condo building that collapsed June 24 in Surfside, Fla. Experts cited issues ranging from inadequate waterproofing to weak concrete that combined to doom the building. Worse, they noted that some other buildings of a similar age likely have similar problems.


Energy and Environment

Green profits: Owners of large, forested tracts may be able to make more money by leaving their trees in place, at least for a time, than by selling the lumber, according to a Wall Street Journal podcast. “Carbon offsets” are essentially credits for the amount of carbon absorbed by a forest, measured in one-ton increments. Large corporations under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint buy the right to claim the carbon-absorption benefits in order to offset carbon emissions they cannot otherwise reduce. The market is booming as companies struggle to reach their carbon-neutral goals.

Well, well: After two dry years in California, reports of dry wells are worsening and spreading in many new areas, leaving more families with no drinking water. During the height of the state’s last drought, thousands of Californians in the Central Valley ran out of water as their wells went dry. Alarmed, the California Legislature in 2014 enacted a package of new laws that aimed to stop over-pumping. According to Governing.com, about 2,700 wells across the state are projected to go dry this year, and if the drought continues, and 1,000 more next year.


Economy

Job growth: Georgia‘s July unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% from 4% the previous month. This is the 15th consecutive monthly decrease for the state. The national average is 5.4%. Gov. Brian Kemp touted the state for having “nearly 84,000 jobs added in the last two months and the lowest unemployment rate of the ten most populous states.”

Hollywood in Valdosta: The Valdosta City Council approved a film ordinance seeking to help facilitate the process for movie and TV projects that shoot in the area. The new ordinance includes fees associated with road closures and provision that property owners affected need to be notified ahead of time. Source: News reports


Legislature

Reapportionment: The schedule of the General Assembly’s committee hearings can be found online, along with video links to the meetings. Visit legis.ga.gov/schedule/all.


Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: It’s been 10 years since the Foundation published “The Wrong Road to Transportation Solutions” about the 10-year, 1% sales tax meant to fund improvements.


Memory Lane

The more things change: “Owning a home has always been part of the American Dream.” Michael Tanner wrote, “But if the Atlanta City Council has its way, the realization of that dream will become ever more distant for thousands of Georgians.” As home prices in the Atlanta area continue to skyrocket, this commentary is worth a fresh read!


Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Keeping an Eye on Telehealth,” by Chris Denson.


Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our website at georgiapolicy.org.

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