Friday Facts: November 20, 2020

It’s Friday!  Quotes of Note “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me ‘to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably … Continue Reading →

Georgia’s Political Fault Line

By Kyle Wingfield Everyone knows by now that Georgia’s political fault line runs between its urban and suburban counties on one side, and its exurban and rural ones on the other. But the sheer depth of that chasm – and how it might be bridged – are worth exploring. For one example, look to the presidential election. Joe Biden, projected to win the state pending a manual “re-tally” of the ballots, cleaned up in the most-populated counties, taking seven of the 10 largest. But he won just 13 of the … Continue Reading →

The ‘In-Between’ Election, the ‘In-Between’ Year

By Kyle Wingfield Merriam-Webster will surely pick a pandemic-related term as 2020’s “word of the year.” Coronavirus, social distancing or quarantine would be apt. My choice is “liminal,” which that dictionary defines as “of, relating to, or being (in) an intermediate state, phase, or condition: in-between, transitional.” That not only describes the way we’ve been living since March, but – I believe – explains this election. Vote counting was still underway as I wrote, and there will be recounts and lawsuits. But the time required to determine a winner is … Continue Reading →

Rejecting Nonstop Politics

By Kyle Wingfield By the time you read this, the 2020 election will be nearly over. Some votes may be still uncounted, the outcome still unclear, the lawyers just getting warmed up, and some races – including in Georgia – set for a runoff. But in the main, it’ll finally be over. Then what? It’s become cliché to bemoan our polarized politics. The truth is, it’s always been polarized. If you don’t believe me, go watch the rap-battle scenes from the musical “Hamilton.” Or better yet, read the history of … Continue Reading →

It’s Time to Get Serious About the National Debt

By Kyle Wingfield Among the things that may have changed forever in 2020 is Americans’ willingness to get serious about the national debt. During the final presidential debate, President Donald Trump was asked why he hasn’t secured further emergency funding for the pandemic. His response: “Because Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it. I do.” His opponent, Joe Biden, pointed to the HEROES Act the Democrat-controlled House passed earlier this year, which he supports. While Trump rightly replied that he has signed multiple relief bills, and that the HEROES Act … Continue Reading →

Do You Know What’s on Your Georgia Ballot?

By Kyle Wingfield Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of your ballot, and suddenly you’re faced with an unfamiliar constitutional amendment or referendum? These ballot questions usually don’t spawn millions of dollars in TV ads about what’s at stake. And the questions themselves often seem written intentionally vaguely. So let’s walk through the three statewide questions appearing on this year’s ballots. Amendment 1: For years, the General Assembly has passed various types of taxes or user fees. Also for years, the General Assembly has proclaimed that … Continue Reading →

Foundation Welcomes Feds’ OK of Healthcare Waivers

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Seema Verma, administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced today that the federal government will approve Georgia’s healthcare waiver requests, both for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Kyle Wingfield, President and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, released this statement in response: The Foundation has worked for years on policies that would enable all Georgians and their families to have a say in their healthcare options and affordability. The federal waivers approved today are an important step in … Continue Reading →

Voters’ Guide to the 2020 Georgia Ballot Initiatives

Examining Georgia’s two statewide proposed constitutional amendments. Reason Foundation has analyzed proposed amendments on state ballots around the nation, including two on the Georgia ballot. The analysis, published below, is available on Reason’s website. Click to navigate to each amendment analysis: Georgia Ballot Initiative Analysis: Amendment 1 — Dedicating Tax and Fee Revenue Georgia’s Amendment 1 would dedicate all taxes or fees to the specific program or purpose to which the taxes or fees were imposed. Georgia Ballot Initiative Analysis: Amendment 2 — Declaratory Relief from Certain Laws  Georgia’s Amendment … Continue Reading →

Foundation Releases ‘Guide to The Issues 2020’

NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release October 1, 2020 Contact: Keara Vickers Kearav@georgiapolicy.org 404-256-4050 Foundation Releases ‘Guide to The Issues 2020’ Atlanta – The Georgia Public Policy Foundation released its Guide to The Issues 2020 today, providing policy recommendations on 13 critical areas that state policymakers are expected to – and should – tackle in the upcoming legislative session and the near future. Distributed by the Foundation for more than two decades, the Guide to The Issues is published online this year. Georgia-focused policy proposals are rooted in the Foundation’s guiding … Continue Reading →

Tax Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Minimize the impact of taxes on economic growth. Taxes are necessary to fund core government services, but every additional dollar of taxes is a discretionary dollar taken away from a family. A decision to raise taxes is an explicit decision that a government program has a higher priority and importance than individual decisions. The private sector is the source of all wealth and is what drives improvements in the standard of living in a market-based economy. Taxes should consume as small a portion of income as possible, should not interfere … Continue Reading →

Occupational Licensing: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles Citizens have a right to pursue a legal occupation, and the burden should fall on the government to justify any restrictions to that right. Restrictions on economic liberty should be targeted at protecting health and safety, and policy-makers should demand proof that there is a clear, likely and well-established danger to the public. Government should use the least restrictive means to address any danger to the public. Download the Occupational Licensing chapter of the Guide to the Issues 2020 here Read the full Guide to the Issues 2020 Recommendations: … Continue Reading →

Medicaid: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Government should be willing to spend what it is already spending, but in a more rational manner. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually in Georgia on uncompensated care for the uninsured. Uninsured Georgians do get sick; one way or another, we all pay for their care in a way that is terribly inefficient. Money should follow people. While it is important to support the institutions and providers that make up Georgia’s safety net, solutions should be people-centered, not institution-centered. Innovation requires flexibility and choices. Micromanaging every last … Continue Reading →

Criminal Justice Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Public safety is a core responsibility of government. A well-functioning criminal justice system enforces order and respect for every person’s right to property and life, and ensures that liberty does not lead to license. As with any government program, the criminal justice system must be transparent and include performance measures that hold it accountable for its results in protecting the public, lowering crime rates, reducing re-offending, collecting victim restitution and conserving taxpayers’ money. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through … Continue Reading →

Fiscal Overview: Guide to the Issues 2020

Download the Fiscal Overview chapter of the Guide to the Issues 2020 here Read the full Guide to the Issues 2020 How the state budget process works Georgia’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. Each January, when the legislative session begins, the fiscal year is just over its halfway point, requiring the General Assembly to pass two budgets: an “amended” budget, which makes adjustments to the budget for the current fiscal year, and a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Unlike the federal government, Georgia’s Constitution mandates a … Continue Reading →

Guide to the Issues 2020

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s goal for this Guide to the Issues is to provide a compilation of commonsense policies upon which Georgia’s elected officials can base laws, ordinances, rules and regulations without fear of partisan influence. The policies proposed are based on facts and the principles of limited government, individual responsibility and free enterprise. They support an approach that reinforces policy over politics.  Our motto is “Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians Lives” – for the better. Since the Foundation was established in 1991, many Guide to the Issues proposals have been … Continue Reading →

Pension Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Any reforms to pensions should consider the long-term solvency of a plan and protect the promised benefits for employees already in the system. The benefits in a public employee retirement system should be sustainable, secure and affordable: Provide retirement security for all members (current and future) and retirees. Manage and mitigate taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and market risk. Reduce long-term costs for employers or taxpayers as well as employees. Stabilize contribution rates. Ensure the ability to recruit employees. Improve governance & transparency. The best pension … Continue Reading →

Higher Education: Guide to the Issues 2020

Facts: Georgia ranks 31st in terms of postsecondary participation, but has the eighth largest net full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment in the United States (excluding medical students). In 2018, 52.6% of Georgia’s young adults were enrolled in postsecondary education or had earned a degree, compared to 56.5% nationally. The average amount of annual in-state tuition and fees at Georgia’s public four-year universities increased by 1.95% over the past five years. The national average during this time was 9.61%. Georgia’s average amount of tuition and fees, $8,719, also ranks below the national … Continue Reading →

Tort Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Tort reforms should accomplish the following goals: Provide a fair and efficient legal system. Reduce the prevalence of legal abuse and fraudulent claims filed. Ensure patients have access to fair and reasonable compensation for legitimate medical injuries. Reduce liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Reduce the rates of preventable patient injuries. Download the Tort Reform chapter of the Guide to the Issues 2020 here Read the full Guide to the Issues 2020   Recommendation: Cap premises liability. Limit nuclear verdicts and reinstate medical liability caps. Replace Georgia’s current … Continue Reading →

Welfare Reform: 2020 Guide to the Issues

Principles: Helping people move from dependency to self-sufficiency should be the primary focus of the safety net. Making work pay is essential. Working more hours or getting a pay raise should not set families back financiallyPrograms should target benefits to the neediest.Enrollment should be coordinated to eliminate fraud and abuse and enhance efficiency.Programs should be temporary rather than permanent, with few exceptions. Download the Welfare Reform chapter of the 2020 Guide to the Issues here Read the full 2020 Guide to the Issues Recommendations: Increase public education on the availability … Continue Reading →

Long-Term Care: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles Long-term care programs should be reserved for Georgia’s most vulnerable populations. Long-term care programs should be designed to avoid “crowding out” private solutions and personal responsibility. Download the Long-Term Care chapter of the Guide to the Issues 2020 here Read the full Guide to the Issues 2020 Recommendations Seek ways to target publicly funded long-term care (LTC) services to the neediest Georgians. Middle-class and affluent people should prepay for care or repay from their estates. Now that the maintenance-of-effort restriction in the Affordable Care Act has expired, Medicaid LTC … Continue Reading →