Author: Kelly McCutchen

By Kelly McCutchen Tax reform has been a popular topic this year. In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley is championing a plan to lower the state’s 4, 5 and 6 percent individual income tax rates to 3.75 percent. In Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin called for a “gradual elimination of the income tax” in her State of the State address. Oklahoma legislators have presented a plan “to eliminate most personal tax credits, exemptions, deductions, and exclusions—and to drop the top income-tax rate from 5.25 percent to 2.25 percent, then steadily drive the levy down for a decade, leading to its elimination.” Kansas, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey and Ohio are also debating significant income tax reforms. Here in Georgia, in… View Article
Below are excerpts from a commentary the Foundation published over a decade ago by former State Senator and gubernatorial candidate, Steve Langford, that are unfortunately relevant today: The rush by many Georgia cities to enter new businesses and expand existing ones, in direct and unfair competition with small and large private companies, poses the primary long-term fiscal challenge to Governor Barnes and the Legislature. Many cities are adding to their traditional services — water, sewer, trash, gas and electric — such new ventures as cable TV, telecommunications, hotels, real estate development, construction services, appliance sales, etc. This alarming trend in local government is the purest form of socialism and is crashing onto the scene at a time when all other… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen The General Assembly is considering two alternative Constitutional Amendments to address the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling last year regarding the state’s role in public education. The two primary debates emerging from this decision are 1) what should be the state’s role in public education and 2) if charter schools are authorized by the state, how does the state fund these schools? Shared Authority vs Exclusive Local School Board Control Both amendments use identical language to establish the state’s role in setting education policy. The clause in both amendments reads: “the General Assembly may by general law provide for the establishment of education policies for such public education.” This gives state and local government a shared constitutional authority… View Article
Governor Nathan Deal did not hesitate Wednesday when was asked whether the state regional transportation sales tax referendum scheduled for next year is in trouble, as some believe.  If the measure passes the sales tax would be imposed for ten years and it would fund projects that voters would know about before they approve the money. “I don’t necessarily think that it is,” Governor Deal replied during a news conference at the State Capitol.  “Obviously, anytime in an economy like we have now getting people to understand that an additional one penny is going to be asked of them is a very significant undertaking. “But by the same token, I think this is a unique opportunity for Georgians to have… View Article
One supposed benefit of socialized medicine is access to low-cost medicines, right? A new study by the Fraser Institute highlights some important facts when comparing the U.S. and Canada. By observing per capita drug spending as a percentage of per capita income the study compares the average personal affordability of drug costs for Canadians and Americans.  The method provides a way to estimate the actual economic burden of prescription drug costs on consumers in Canada and the United States relative to the differences in living standards. Consumers in Canada and the United States spend nearly the same proportion of their per capita gross domestic product on prescription drugs (1.6 percent in Canada and 1.8 percent in the United States) and… View Article
Georgia has many examples of failures where municipal governments tried to compete with the private sector to provide Internet access, telephone service, cable television and other services. Taxpayers were left holding the bag. As Bartlett Cleland of the the Institute for Policy Innovation reports below, Phildelphia is the latest example of government mission creep. The article also explains how North Carolina has wisely put in place some protections against this behavior. Philadelphia taxpayers left stranded, again, with a failed municipal wi-fi network might wish Philly was in the Tar Heel State. In spring, the North Carolina legislature debated the value of municipalities building their own wi-fi networks and decided against it.  The legislation passed and was made law by the… View Article
Education expert Terry Moe writing in today’s Wall Street Journal: Online learning now allows schools to customize coursework to each child, with all kids working at their own pace, receiving instant remedial help, exploring a vast array of courses, and much more. The advantages are huge. Already some 39 states have set up virtual schools or learning initiatives that enroll students statewide, often providing advanced placement courses, remedial courses, and other offerings that students can’t get in their local schools. The national model is the Florida Virtual School, which offers a full academic curriculum, has more than 220,000 course enrollments per year, and is a beacon of innovation. Outside of government, tech entrepreneurs like K12 and Connections Academy are… View Article

$7 million per household for broadband?!

A new study criticizes the Broadband Initiatives Program (funded by the 2009 federal stimulus plan) for subsidizing the construction of duplicative broadband networks and imposing high costs on taxpayers while placing private sector providers at a competitive disadvantage. Nick Schulz, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in Forbes:  “No one is against expanded access to broadband. And in rural areas especially, where there might be less market incentive to provide access, maybe there’s a role for government to play. The question for prudent policymakers is how much such a project should cost and who should bear the cost. Surely there is some price that’s too high to justify expanding access.” Discussing the findings, Schulz says, “So how… View Article
Another interesting report from the National Center for Policy Analysis: About 5 percent of the population is responsible for almost half of all health care spending in the United States and for rising premium rates, according to a new report from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, says the National Journal. The report stated about half of the U.S. population accounted for only 3.1 percent of all expenditures. But 10 percent of the population hogged 63.6 percent of all health spending, the survey found. The top 5 percent of the population accounted for 47.5 percent of all spending, and the top 1 percent accounted for 20.2 percent. While the average person incurred about $233 in costs in… View Article
From the National Center for Public Analysis: The federal government’s deficit usually rises during recessions, and the depth of the last recession contributed to the red ink.  However, the rise in the deficit this time was extraordinary.  Why did the federal deficit increase so much more during and after this recession than during and after previous recessions? A new paper from the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation (IRET) examines the 10 U.S. recessions since 1950. It concludes that an upsurge in federal spending is the primary reason for federal deficits of a magnitude not seen since World War II. [Emphasis added.] The federal government was running a budget deficit prior to the recession that officially began in… View Article

The Foundation always tells the truth.

Governor Roy Barnes more quotes