Category: Commentaries

Reporter Newspapers published an op-ed on October 26, 2018, solicited from Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: ‘Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem.’  Access the op-ed online at  www.reporternewspapers.net/2018/10/26/commentary-marsys-law-is-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem/; the op-ed is reprinted below in its entirety. The Nov. 6 ballot includes, as Question 4, a proposed state constitutional amendment that “provides rights for victims of crime in the judicial process.” The Reporter Newspapers asked two advocates to explain the pro and con arguments on the question, which is commonly known as “Marsy’s Law.” For the commentary supporting the amendment, click here. Commentary: ‘Marsy’s Law is a solution in search of a problem’ By Benita Dodd November ballots… View Article

The 5 Amendments Explained

By Kyle Wingfield If you’re confused about the five proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot, you’re not alone. The brief, vague descriptions on the ballot offer little explanation what exactly the amendments will do if approved by a majority of voters. The following is the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s interpretation of the amendments; voters should conduct their own research and come to their own conclusions. Amendment 1: Creates the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund The idea is to dedicate up to 80 percent of the sales-tax revenues from outdoor sports and recreation equipment to protect and preserve green space. State officials estimate more than $50 million per year in tax revenues from these sales, so some $40 million… View Article
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

Medicaid Expansion, ‘Free’ Money That Costs a Lot

By Dave Emanuel “The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for Medicaid expansion through 2016. After that, it will drop to 90 percent by 2020.” How can you beat a deal like that? Apparently, policymakers in 33 states don’t think you can. They have expanded Medicaid coverage under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for Medicaid expansion, virtually anyone with annual earnings at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible. What is left unsaid is that it is anybody’s guess what options are available to a Medicaid recipient whose income rises to 139 percent of the qualifying level. Consequently, the specter of losing coverage or having… View Article

Georgia Benefits from Nuclear Plant Expansion

By Steven Biegalski The nuclear reactor expansion project at Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, near Augusta, has been plagued by troubles: Westinghouse declaring bankruptcy, construction delays and cost overruns. Fortunately, completion of the project is still commercially viable. Moreover, it will have numerous benefits to the citizens of Georgia and to the nation as a whole. The price tag for Vogtle Units 3 and 4 has ballooned. As a reminder, costs also soared for Vogtle’s Units 1 and 2, initially estimated at $1 billion and ending up costing about $9 billion during an extended construction period of about 13 years. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy led to the scuttling of a similar project in South Carolina last year. Given the three-decade gap in U.S.… View Article

FBI Releases 2017 Uniform Crime Report

(September 24, 2018): The FBI has  released its Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2017, a compilation of the volume and rate of violent and property crime offenses for the nation and by state. In Georgia, violent crime declined 8.5 percent overall in 2017 compared to 2016, but the murder rate was up nearly 2 percent. Some Georgia details from the FBI database: Violent  crimes declined 8.5 percent Rape crimes declined 20.5 percent Robbery declined 18 percent Aggravated assault declined 2.3 percent Property crime declined 4 percent The murder rate increased 1.9 percent Among Georgia’s metro areas, Albany had the highest rates of violent crime, murder and aggravated assault. Columbus was worst for rape and robbery. Macon was worst… 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

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
By Senator John McCain John McCain (R-Ariz.), died of cancer on August 25, 2018, at age 81.  The senior senator from Arizona was the keynote speaker at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 15th anniversary celebration on October 9, 2006. These are excerpts from his speech. These are challenging days. Elections approaching. My party has a tough fight on its hands. Part of the reasons are the difficulties of war, and America’s waning patience with it. Partly, it is just a typical cyclical challenge for the party in power, the sixth year of a presidency. But a part of it is our own fault. And we must not only remind the voters of what we have done to deserve their support,… View Article

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes