Author: Mike Klein

By Baruch Feigenbaum On July 31, 2012, voters in 12 regions in Georgia, including a 10-county Atlanta region, will decide in a referendum whether to enact a 1 percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) for transportation. To help Georgians understand the ramifications of the referendum, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has released an Issue Analysis: “Getting Georgia Going: An Analysis of the Referendum On Georgia’s Transportation Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax.” With Georgia ranked 49th in transportation spending, the question should focus not on whether the state needs to increase investment in its transportation network, but what is the best, most efficient and politically realistic way to do so. Given this framework, there are reasons for voting… View Article
By Mike Klein Medicaid is a beast.  About one-in-five Georgians receives Medicaid health care.  That is 1.7 million people.  Fifty-nine percent of statewide births are Medicaid babies.  Another couple hundred thousand children are enrolled in PeachCare, the state children’s health insurance program.   Medicaid could grow by hundreds of thousands more if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the federal health care reform law in its decision expected next month. Not at all surprisingly, Medicaid redesign questions were abundant when three of Governor Nathan Deal’s advisors met with Georgia Children’s Advocacy Network members at the Freight Depot in Atlanta.  The advisors made no presentations and took questions for almost 90 minutes. Health policy advisor Katie Rogers named telehealth reimbursement policies, portable electronic… View Article

Checking Up on Health

Health Policy Briefs: Posted May 15 Compiled by Benita Dodd Water, water everywhere, but …: According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 780 million people still lacked safe drinking water in 2010. On Monday, May 21, more than 400 attendees are expected to attend, “Sustaining American Leadership in Global Health and Water,” described as “a major conference on how the United States, even in the midst of fiscal austerity and political division, can best advance the world’s health.” Hosted by three Atlanta-based groups – the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, CARE USA and the Center for Strategic and International Studies – the daylong event at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead will include discussions on the special place of water and… View Article
By Mike Klein This summer and fall you will repeatedly hear that approving a charter schools constitutional amendment would steal resources from traditional Georgia public schools.  The idea is that when any money follows a student to a charter school the students left behind somehow suffer. This argument seems to apply only when students move to charter schools.  You never hear public school systems, their superintendents or school board members complain when students move from one public school system to another.  Apparently financial harm is a one-way street. The premise that students moving to charter schools will cause financial quakes in traditional school systems also suggests we should accept another premise that public school systems are so inflexible they cannot… View Article
By Jay P. Greene According to the Global Report Card, more than a third of the 30 school districts with the highest math achievement in the United States are actually charter schools. This is particularly impressive considering that charters constitute about 5 percent of all schools and about 3 percent of all public school students. And it is even more amazing considering that some of the highest performing charter schools, like Roxbury Prep in Boston or KIPP Infinity in New York City, serve very disadvantaged students. As impressive and amazing as these results by charter schools may be, it would be wrong to conclude from this that charter schools improve student achievement. The only way to know with confidence… View Article
By Mike Klein Fulton Science Academy’s middle school will try to remain open this fall in Alpharetta even after the state board of education denied its state charter application on Thursday.  The Academy was already rejected by Fulton County last December so it does not have another public school option. “Our only viable option right now is to go to a tuition-based private school model which is not our first choice because then it won’t be open to everybody in the public,” board member Angela Lassetter said in a hallway interview just outside the state board meeting room. Moments earlier Lassetter and two other Fulton Science Academy parents asked board members to wait another month before voting to approve or… View Article
By Bob Williams Last month, the Government Accountability Office released its annual report on the fiscal condition of our states. The report’s title — “State Fiscal Gap Seen Worsening” — says it all. Every state is facing record deficits, and the GAO predicts the budget gaps for state and local governments will steadily worsen through 2060 absent any policy changes. The GAO calculated that closing the fiscal gap with an immediate action would require an annual 12.7 percent reduction in state and local government expenditures, or tax increases of a similar magnitude. The downward spiral that state budgets are experiencing are the result of accounting gimmicks, reckless spending, and a failure of state legislatures and governors over the years to… View Article
By Mike Klein Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed thinks our classrooms need more hot air.  “We actually need STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and math,” Reed told an “Education Nation” audience Monday morning at the Georgia Aquarium.  Later he added, “America cannot continue to be what it has been if we continue to have the kind of educational system that we have.” “Education Nation” is a two-year-old NBC News project to create solutions-based conversations about learning in America.  Atlanta is one of five cities being toured this year.  Reed was joined onstage by Senator Johnny Isakson and Governor Nathan Deal in a discussion moderated by Meet the Press host David Gregory.  WXIA 11Alive is NBC’s “Education Nation” local… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen What if someone proposed a law to tax working families $5,000 or more if they purchase health insurance? Such legislation would have no chance of passing. Yet it is, in effect, a painful reality for many Georgia families. More than 400,000 Georgians work in small businesses that don’t offer health insurance. A fundamental flaw in the federal tax code since the 1940s excludes these individuals from the massive tax exemptions available through employer-purchased health insurance. Here’s a typical case of how the penalty hurts families: “Kenny” was a loan officer at a community bank. As part of his compensation, the bank offered a comprehensive health care plan that covered Kenny, his wife and two daughters. The premium… View Article
By Mike Klein Governor Nathan Deal traveled to Cherokee County on Thursday morning to deliver a message about charter schools.  “Parents quite frankly are the ultimate local control,” the Governor told parents, teachers, students, legislators and media who gathered at Cherokee Charter Academy to watch him sign this year’s charter schools commission implementation legislation. “We hear that term used quite a bit but parents should be the ones who have a great say so in the way their children are educated,” Deal said.  “We believe that if we empower the citizens of this state and give them those kinds of opportunities they will respond.” The official business was a signing ceremony for House Bill 797 that establishes how the state… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been a catalyst for common sense proposals—and elected officials are listening and reacting.

U.S. Senator Bill Frist more quotes