Category: Government Reform

Jeffrey H. Dorfman Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle and sustained major, hurricane-force winds as it entered southwest Georgia’s agricultural heartland. It appears the losses to Georgia agriculture alone will exceed $2 billion. This unprecedented hit may require similarly unprecedented responses from the private sector and government. As of this writing, I estimate Georgia cotton growers suffered $550 million in losses. Worse, Georgia pecan growers suffered $560 million in lost crop, damaged and destroyed trees, and lost future income while waiting for replanted orchards to mature. Georgia vegetable farmers also suffered heavy losses, perhaps over $400 million. Topping even that, Georgia timber owners may have lost $1 billion, with 250,000 acres completely lost and 750,000 acres with varying… View Article
By Evgenia Sidorova  The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia alarmed legislators and stakeholders when it requested over $588 million in increased contributions in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions combined, largely the result of missed actuarial assumptions. Given such a steep rise, the relatively small $25 million budget increase requested for 2019 may have signaled to some that things might be turning around for the troubled pension plan. But this would be mistaken, according to a new report published by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation that finds the Georgia TRS has several shortcomings that could further degrade its long-run solvency. The pension system currently has $24.8 billion in unfunded pension liabilities,… View Article

Georgia’s Teachers Retirement System

Georgia TRS: Historic Solvency Analysis and Prospects for The Future  By Jen Sidorova and Anil Niraula Project Directors: Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation Kyle Wingfield, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) surprised many during the 2017 legislative session by requesting an additional $223.9 million in annual funding, then did so again in 2018, requiring an additional $364.9 million in contributions. The nearly $600 million in annual increases to teacher pension funding have been necessary in large part because of growing unfunded liabilities – colloquially known as pension debt – which were reported at $23.6 billion in 2016. Since then the debt has grown to $24.8 billion, but in contrast with previous years TRS requested a relatively… View Article
By Harold Brown A year ago this month, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Apportioning blame and credit for the island’s recovery is almost beside the point. That has been complicated not only by the physical, economic and social destruction caused by Maria but by economic and demographic problems beginning long before the hurricane hit. Puerto Rico is one of the few places in the world where population is in a steep decline (see chart). For 2017, the CIA World Factbook lists it second from the bottom out of 234 countries for population growth. According to the Census, the population increased until 2004, then declined, reaching the lowest population in three decades last year. The… View Article

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

The Foundation should take a lot of pride in your influence on Georgia governmental policy over the past several years. If you look back on several things that you were crying in the wilderness about several years ago, you will find that Governor Miller adopted them…your influence and your pressure on that process has been a major factor in governmental policy in Georgia. You should be congratulated.

Governor Sonny Perdue more quotes