Category: Government Reform

2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum Agenda

PDF Version: Agenda 2018  2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum AGENDA 7:30-8:00  Breakfast Buffet 8:00 Welcome: Kyle Wingfield President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation 8:05 Introduction of Breakfast Keynote Speaker Marissa McCall Dodson, Public Policy Director, Southern Center for Human Rights 8:10-8:50 Breakfast Keynote Judge Steven C. Teske Chief Judge, Juvenile Court, Clayton Judicial Circuit ‘Criminal Justice Reform for a Secure Future’ 9:00-10:35 SESSION I A Responsible Path Forward for Health Care Change is coming slowly at the federal level even as health care costs and premiums continue to rise in the states. Georgia is not among the states that expanded the category of population covered by Medicaid, whose rising costs are unsustainable. Total Medicaid spending in FY 2016 was $574.2… View Article

The Black Hole of Camden County’s Spaceport

By Jim Renner My friend works hard at a low-paying job. Every week he buys a lottery ticket, even though he knows the odds of winning are miniscule. For him, it’s inexpensive entertainment. But if he spent half his paycheck on lottery tickets, we’d all agree he was crazy for wasting his money chasing an impossible dream. Camden County, Ga., doesn’t understand this logic. The county administrator and commissioners have spent almost $5 million taxpayer dollars pursuing a fantasy with almost zero chance of success. They dream of building a commercial spaceport for small start-up companies to launch rockets over Cumberland Island National Seashore. They make extravagant claims about creating jobs and attracting businesses, and bemoan the children forced to… View Article
A Savannah Morning News editorial published on June 22, 2018 warns that teacher pension reform is crucial for teachers and taxpayers. The editorial can be accessed online here and is reprinted in full below. Editorial: Reform teacher pension fund to control school taxes  The tax villains ran roughshod this week, passing increases that will appear across several columns in our fall property tax bills. As is always the case, the public is assigning blame. And, as always, they point to the easy targets, the men and women who hold titles such as manager or superintendent; mayor, chairman or president; or alderman, commissioner or school board rep. The one true scoundrel in our tax chaos, who goes by the initials TRS,… View Article
By Kyle Wingfield Few bills gave liberty-minded folks more heartburn during this past legislative session than the so-called distracted driving bill, which would ban most motorists from holding a mobile phone while cruising down Georgia’s roads. There were many reasons for this. First, it didn’t cover all distractions: Holding a hamburger or a mascara brush would still be OK under this legislation, even though either can take a driver’s eyes off the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel. Second, not all distractions created by mobile phones are created equal: The recent spike in accidents and fatalities came well after people started phoning a friend while driving, yet the bill would outlaw holding a phone to talk… View Article
By Kyle Wingfield Lots of things die at the end of a legislative session: bills, constitutional amendments, one’s faith in humanity (just kidding about that last one – mostly). Some of what doesn’t survive is not to be regretted; some is. Rarely do lawmakers stand by as an effective entity fades into the sunset. But there was one such case this year. The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform was created in 2013 – by a law that provided for its dissolution on June 30, 2018, unless legislators voted to keep it running. They did not. So, after five years of vetting and proposing ways to make the state’s criminal justice system work smarter, the council will close less than … View Article

Tax Season is Easier This Year

By Brandon Arnold and Benita M. Dodd Tax season is a traditionally dreadful time of year for Americans. Nobody likes having to account for how much the Internal Revenue Service is reaching into our pockets. But this year, Americans across the country and in Georgia can take a breath of relief, knowing the benefits they’ve already started to experience because of tax reform are only going to get better. The federal tax law cut rates at every level of the income ladder, and in January the tax withholding calculations were adjusted so Americans started seeing those tax cuts show up in their take-home pay. Paychecks are larger. Companies across the country have issued bonuses for their workers. People have more… View Article

Winners and Losers in Georgia’s 2017-18 Session

By Benita M. Dodd The second half of Georgia’s biennial legislative session that ended March 31 turned out to be surprisingly more intensive than expected. Election-year sessions are typically low-key and feel-good; everybody wants to leave ASAP to begin fund-raising, which is prohibited during the session. In summary, legislation moved on transportation, taxes, education and criminal justice reform. It sputtered on health care.  And, as expected, some feel-good but unnecessary bills got through. Undoubtedly, the biggest winner under the Gold Dome was education. With higher-than-expected state revenue estimates, Governor Nathan Deal ended the state shortfall in Georgia’s complicated QBE funding for public schools, long a sore point with advocates of public school spending. Legislation ensures Georgia’s 33,000 state public charter… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The average Georgian has never been under the Gold Dome. Many have vague memories of a two-headed calf on display during a State Capitol school field trip. For most Georgians, the closest they get to the General Assembly is their legislator’s local townhall meeting or, if they are really interested, watching legislators in action online. For this reason, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation marks Sunshine Week. In its 18th year and celebrated March 11-17 this year, the event highlights government transparency and access to public information. Transparency is the reason the Foundation has campaigned for years to have elected officials and local government share more data online, accessible to ordinary, working Georgians and the watchdog… View Article
This event was held on February 20, 2018 and featured a panel with Len Gilroy, Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project and  Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, and Georgia State Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Chairman of the Georgia House Budget and Fiscal Oversight Committee. The presentation may be downloaded here: PDF file View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release February 13, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Foundation Hosts February 20 Event on Georgia Teacher Pension Reform Atlanta – In 2017, Georgia’s budget included $223 million for the Teacher Retirement System to improve its financial security. This year, Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget includes another $361.7 million to prop up the pension fund for Georgia teachers.  Why is this happening? How much longer will Georgia taxpayers have to pump money into the TRS?  More important, what assurances do Georgia teachers entering the profession have that their benefits will be there when they retire? Find out more at “Pension Solvency and Public Education: The Case for Reforming Georgia Teacher Pensions,”… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation bases its findings on fact, and maintains the standard of truth.

U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell more quotes