Category: Government Reform

The Bitter Battle Over Bogus Butter

By Harold Brown Government regulations have unintended consequences. Winners are protected, losers are punished, perhaps. Effects are often unpredictable and change with time and conditions. Nothing illustrates the vagaries of government management better than the protection of butter. Most Americans believe the oleomargarine-butter controversy to be a mild competition between two ordinary foods that began in mid-20th century, but it’s much older and more significant. Mark Twain (“Life on the Mississippi,” 1874) overheard a conversation between two salesmen on a Mississippi steamboat that included, “… look at it – smell of it – taste it. Put any test on it you want to. Take your own time – no hurry – make it thorough. There now – what do you… View Article

Pay Attention: National Energy Policy Hits Home, Too

By Benita M. Dodd Georgia boasts no native sources of fossil fuel – coal, natural gas or oil – yet the energy industry fuels this state’s economy just as surely as if it were the epicenter of operations. As the state slowly recovers from the economic downturn, the 50 percent drop in prices at the nation’s gas pumps over the past year has been a mixed blessing. On one hand, it gives commuters a cheaper trip and lowers the cost of doing business for companies. On the other, it reduces the viability of recovering “unconventional” oil and natural gas resources in an already-hostile regulatory environment. While hydraulic fracturing – “fracking” – has been around in one form or another for View Article
By Jeffrey Dorfman  Every member of the Georgia Legislature was elected this past November. Thus, one would expect those legislators to hold the citizens who elected them in high esteem; after all, they were wise enough to elect them, right? The next month or so will determine whether those legislators actually trust their voters to make independent decisions in the marketplace or they believe the citizens need to be protected from decisions elected officials don’t think we are capable of making on our own. Two bills before the Legislature demonstrate the choice before these politicians. One would allow craft brewers and brewpubs to actually sell beer for customers to take home; another would allow Tesla to sell cars directly to… View Article
GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release March 13, 2015 Contact Kelly McCutchen at 404-256-4050 or kmccutchen@georgiapolicy.org Foundation Highlights Solar Energy and Sunshine Week Atlanta – Two years ago this week, Dublin High School in Laurens County broke ground on a solar panel array that was described as a trailblazer funding model and a moneysaver for the school. As she gathered information for an article marking the March 11 anniversary of the groundbreaking, Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd gained a renewed appreciation for Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of the national initiative for open government and freedom of information that takes place next week (March 15-21). What started out as a commentary on Sunshine Week and the solar… View Article
The growing number of wineries in north Georgia are becoming a tourism success story. Visitors can tour the winery, sample the products and then buy a bottle, or a case, to take home. If you really like the wine, you can have up to 12 cases a year shipped to your home. Craft beer is the latest craze. Breweries are springing up all over the state of Georgia. While breweries are contributing to economic growth in many states, Georgia is being held back by antiquated laws and powerful special interests. Georgia is one of 5 states where breweries cannot sell beer directly to consumers. Brewers in Georgia simply want to be treated the same as Georgia wineries and breweries in… View Article
A bill introduced this month would modernize Georgia teachers’ pensions to be more in line with private-sector retirement plans. The proposal is modeled after the successful reform of Georgia’s pension plan for new state employees 7 years ago. Senate Bill 152, sponsored by Sen. Hunter Hill, would only apply to teachers hired after January 1, 2017.  These newly hired teachers would automatically be enrolled in a hybrid pension plan that combines a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k) plan, with a smaller traditional defined benefit component. This is exactly what happened with state employees in 2008 in response to a survey showing that state employees under age 30 earning less than $35,000 annually – who made up the… View Article

Legislature Makes Good Progress on The Issues

By Benita M. Dodd As the legislative session reaches the halfway mark for 2015 (Monday is Day 20), there are signs of promising action from Georgia’s General Assembly. For novices: The Georgia Legislature has two-year sessions of 40 days each year. Crossover day for legislation is Day 30, which means a bill must have passed at least one chamber for a chance to become law. (Convoluted amendments sometimes skirt this requirement.) If it does not pass in the first year, it has another opportunity to continue in the second year; if not, it must be introduced all over again. Bearing in mind that a part-time Legislature has little time and few resources to get acquainted with policies, precedents or philosophies,… View Article
EVENT INVITATION February 18, 2015 Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org Federal Overreach is Focus of March 18 Event with AG Sam Olens Atlanta – Under the Constitution, our Founding Fathers assigned the federal government specific, limited powers. How times have changed. As Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens pointed out to Congressional lawmakers in 2013, “With increasing and dismaying frequency, constitutional principles of federalism and separation of powers have been set aside in favor of administrative end-routes to a preferred policy outcome.” Insidious mission creep and overreach now pit states against the federal government and the courts as they are forced to defend their rights. From the Dodd-Frank Act to the ObamaCare Halbig v. Burwell case before the U.S.… View Article

Who makes your charitable giving?

Who chooses your charities? Is it appropriate that government increase its budget to increase giving YOUR tax dollars to charities and other nonprofit organizations? Is it appropriate that government decide winners and losers using your tax dollars? Or is it government overreach? According to news reports: Cobb County’s Commission doled out nearly $1 million in 2014 to 23 applicants. Sandy Springs’ City Council allocated $50,000 to nine nonprofits in 2014. This week, according to Nonprofit Quarterly  and the Savannah Morning News, the City of Tybee Island discussed raising the city’s contribution from $57,902 this year to more than $100,000 next year. As James Madison once said, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” And Grover Cleveland… View Article

Expand Health Care, Not Government

By Nina Owcharenko It’s official: Indiana has given in and adopted ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. Before jumping into the weeds of Indiana’s Medicaid expansion agreement with the Obama administration, it is important to realize the agreement still fails some basic principles of reform. First, it adds more people on to the Medicaid rolls, not fewer. The Indiana plan puts 350,000 more Hoosiers on to the overstretched welfare program. Reform should be grounded in reducing Medicaid dependence, not increasing it. Second, it requires more government spending, not less. The Indiana plan will increase Medicaid spending by having the federal taxpayers pick up 90 percent of the costs. Again, reforms should aim to reduce government spending, not increase or merely shift it. Third,… View Article

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State Representative Bob Irvin more quotes