Category: Issues

Baby Steps in Teacher Pension Reform

By Kyle Wingfield They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The implication is that the first step won’t be the last. That’s the right way to think about House Bill 109, which is intended to address the increasingly worrisome debt for Georgia’s teacher pension system. It’s an initial step toward securing the retirement income promised to our public-school teachers past and present, but it isn’t nearly enough to take the system as far as it needs to go. The bill authored by Rep. Tommy Benton, a Republican from Jefferson and retired teacher, would make a few changes to the pensions of new teachers starting July 1. They wouldn’t be eligible for a pension until… View Article

Heartland Institute Urges Georgia to Address CON Reform

In this Research & Commentary published February 26, 2019, Matthew Glans of the Heartland Institute examines the revived debate in Georgia over the state’s controversial certificate of need program. The commentary is published in full below and can be accessed online here. Georgia  Should Address CON Reform By Matthew Glans Georgia is one of 35 states that institute certificate of need (CON) laws. First passed in the 1960s to deter increasing health care costs, CON laws were supposed to limit duplication and promote health care consolidation. In essence, CON programs require health care providers to receive state approval to increase facilities and services. However, CON laws can also restrict existing providers from expanding services or new providers from entering… View Article
The Economics of Building a Voucher or Educational Savings Account Program in Georgia By Jeffrey Dorfman Executive Summary The economics of vouchers and educational savings accounts (ESAs, also known as educational scholarship accounts) are central to their political success because attracting sufficient political support for such educational choice programs depends at least partially on persuading opponents that these programs will not deprive schools of needed funding for the remaining students. The economic concept at the heart of this dispute is marginal cost. Marginal cost, in the education context, is the additional cost incurred from educating one more student (or the amount expenditures can be reduced if educating one fewer student). If vouchers or ESAs remove funding from a school’s… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Housing needs, trends and designs change constantly. Through the years, homebuilders have learned to meet the needs, wants and pocketbooks of homebuyers while innovating and adapting to meet changing standards for safety, land use and environmental protection. Now, however, elected officials are changing that dynamic. Local governments are stifling innovation, mandating aesthetics and materials, restricting designs and layouts, all while infringing upon the rights of private property owners. This week (February 20), the Georgia House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee narrowly approved a bill that would prohibit local governments from imposing “architectural ordinances” on new home construction. It must make its way through the Legislature. Consider the enormous differences among the Sears kit home, Craftsman bungalow,… View Article
Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, was invited to provide testimony to the Georgia House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee on February 20, 2019, regarding architectural ordinances. His prepared testimony is published below.   GEORGIA HOUSE AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMMITTEE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2019 KYLE WINGFIELD, PRESIDENT, GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION   To Chairman McCall and members of the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee: Thank you for the invitation to provide testimony today about the issues addressed by House Bill 302. My name is Kyle Wingfield, and I’m the president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) research institute based in Atlanta. The Foundation does not endorse or oppose specific… View Article
Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, accepted an invitation to testify before the Georgia Senate Health and Human Services Committee on February 19, 2019, regarding health-care waivers as senators considered SB 106.  His prepared testimony is printed in full below; view his presentation to the committee here, starting at the 11:45 mark. GEORGIA SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2019 KYLE WINGFIELD, PRESIDENT, GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION Chairman Watson and members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee: Thank you for the invitation and opportunity to provide testimony about healthcare waivers. My name is Kyle Wingfield, and I’m the president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3)… View Article

Case for Incentives Strikes Out

This commentary by John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, appeared in the Carolina Journal’s August 2018 edition. Read it online here. Case for Incentives Strikes Out By John Hood North Carolina politicians and policy analysts have been arguing for decades about targeted economic incentives. I have my own view on the subject, which I’ll share later in this column, but I think it would be helpful first to describe four very different takes on the issue. The central question is whether North Carolina’s state and local governments ought to try to compete with other jurisdictions across the country in offering targeted tax or cash incentives, either to lure new businesses or to entice current employers to stay… View Article
By Kyle Wingfield Bureaucratic arcana from Washington, D.C., hit Georgia’s headlines this week. Governor Brian Kemp announced he will seek federal “waivers” to improve health care in the state. But what exactly is a “waiver”? In short, it’s a way for the state to escape stifling federal regulations and provide Georgians with meaningful access to health care that’s affordable – and tailored to the needs and opportunities found all across Georgia. To understand why this is true, and how it would work, it’s worth learning a bit about waivers. First of all, what’s being “waived” are some of the strings Washington attaches to the money it sends states to help pay for some people’s health care. In theory, having some… View Article
By Baruch Feigenbaum A recent study, “Access Across America: Transit 2017,” by Andrew Owen and Brendan Murphy of the University of Minnesota, claims that accessibility to jobs by transit increased between 2016 and 2017. The study, which has been conducted for the past three years, has found increasing accessibility to jobs each year. Given declining transit ridership across the country, the study’s results seem surprising. But a closer look at the methodology shows that “accessibility to jobs” has little connection with actual transit ridership. The study estimates accessibility to jobs by transit and walking for each of the United States’ 11 million census blocks in 49 of the 50 largest metro areas (Memphis is excluded due to a… View Article

2019: Continue a Course of Bold Policies

By Kyle Wingfield A new governor, a new lieutenant governor, a host of new committee chairs – there are numerous reasons the 2019 legislative session is full of intrigue. Add to them Georgia’s growing political competitiveness, the possibility of a national recession sooner rather than later, and some truly important challenges, and there should be plenty of urgency, too. Start with health care. The federal government is stuck: Obamacare clearly isn’t working, but Congress has proved unable to repeal or even improve it. The siren song of Medicaid expansion is back for another chorus, but that’s the wrong answer. It costs too much, would shift a quarter-million Georgians off their private insurance plans, delivers less access to care than beneficiaries… View Article

As an employer, and a parent and a graduate of Georgia public schools, I am pleased that the Foundation has undertaken this project. (The report card) provides an excellent tool for parents and educators to objectively evaluate our public high schools. It will further serve a useful purpose as a benchmark for the future to measure our schools’ progress.

Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes