Category: Commentaries

Base Tax Reform on Principles, Not Interests

By Kelly McCutchen State and local governments operate in a cycle of feast or famine. With projections of surging tax revenues for Georgia after one of the toughest downturns in recent history, it’s no surprise that there are myriad tax reform proposals before state legislators. Before the feeding frenzy begins among the special interests, legislators must hold firm to some basic economics. Fiscal reform shouldn’t emanate from those with the most powerful lobbyists; it should be based upon time-tested and economically sound principles. While there may be justifiable exceptions, it should take compelling evidence to break the following principles: Minimize the impact of taxes on economic growth. Relative to most states, Georgia’s overall economy is thriving. We need to keep… View Article

A New Day for Georgia Education

By Dr. Benjamin Scafidi and Dr. Holly Robinson The new, more rigorous statewide curriculum, the Georgia Performance Standards, which will make our students and schools more globally competitive, is now being implemented. The results of the 2006 Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) are trickling in and early indications are that scores have dropped on some tests. This, however, is actually good news. Why are we celebrating? Several national organizations – most recently the RAND Corporation – point out that every state in the nation has lower standards on its own curriculum-based exams relative to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). NAEP, known as “the Nation’s Report Card,” is a highly regarded battery of tests designed to measure what students… View Article

Legislative Session Good for Business

By Kelly McCutchen Georgians won’t know who this year’s political winners will be until November, but the state’s small businesses were the clear winners in the legislative session. And that’s not small potatoes: More than 150,000 small businesses employ nearly one-third to nearly one-half of all working Georgians, depending on the definition of a small business.   These small businesses provide growing job opportunities, innovation and marketplace competition – unless, that is, they’re stifled by overregulation.  One of the most important actions during the session wasn’t even a new law. It was Governor Perdue’s executive order to state agencies to provide regulatory flexibility for small businesses. Overt tax issues receive the majority of attention, yet complying with numerous and complex rules… View Article

Commentary: The Hidden Cost of “Planning”

By Randal O’Toole Planners rarely say, even among themselves, that one goal of growth-management planning is to drive up housing prices in order to discourage people from living on large lots. One rare exception recently took place in Portland, Oregon, when real estate professionals noted that suburban land values had reached a “tipping point” where it was now worthwhile for developers to buy suburban single-family homes and replace them with high-density housing. The 1997 regional plan for Portland had directed that two dozen cities and three counties in the region rezone some neighborhoods to higher densities in anticipation of this point being reached. Yet nothing in the plan itself, or any of the supporters of the plan, ever mentioned that… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Transportation proposals are chasing lawmakers at such an exciting and breathtaking pace this year that the convergence of plans under the Gold Dome seems destined to outdo NASCAR’s legendary pileups. Just last November, Georgia Public Policy Foundation senior fellow Robert Poole, who is the Transportation Director of Reason Foundation, outlined a massive, innovative and astonishingly bold plan to get Atlanta out of the congestion forecast for the metro area. It included an express network of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes instead of planned high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes; a tunnel from the southern end of Georgia 400 to I-20 and on to I-675; an east-west toll route from Lakewood Freeway to I-20, and a truck toll tunnel that… View Article

Telework: Transporting Workers into a Global Economy

By Michael J. Dziak  Just a dozen years ago it was considered avant garde for an organization to allow employees to work from home. Today, increasing numbers of employees are quietly migrating away from noisy distracting offices to crank out productive work wherever they happen to be.   With ubiquitous mobile technology, portable work, and high-speed digital “hot spots” within reach of PDAs, “26.6 million Americans worked at home in their primary job at least once a month” according to a recent eMarketer Spotlight Report. Research firm IDC projects more than 878 million remote workers “globally” by 2009.   “Globally” is the operative word: Today’s technology makes communicating with an employee in London as easy as with one in a home office… View Article
By Valerie Bayham It takes a minimum of 12 hours of training to carry a firearm as a private security guard in Georgia. Basic training is only 120 hours for firefighters or 404 hours for police officers.  It would take expert hairbraider Fatou Magassouba 1,500 hours of training to legally braid hair. For many African-Americans and African immigrants, hairbraiding represents an important celebration of natural beauty, culture and freedom. This age-old art involves the intricate twisting, weaving, extending or locking of naturally textured hair. Braiding is a form of natural hair care, an alternative to the damaging chemicals that many African-Americans use to straighten their hair. Braiding is also a great start-up entrepreneurial option for those with limited resources. It… View Article

Commentary: Property Rights, Politics and Policy

By Benita M. Dodd The 2005-2006 legislative term has already seen at least three dozen pieces of legislation that reference eminent domain, the authority of government to take land from a private property owner. Some enable it, justifiably; others would curb it. More will come. Enough red flags are up already, however, to warrant repeating Margaret Thatcher’s warning: “This is no time to go wobbly. We can’t fall at the first fence.” The Legislature’s taking action. So why should Georgia property owners worry? At numerous turns, legislation to restrict government’s power to take private property is being eroded. Vested interests cite the need to remove so-called blight in communities, concerns about holdout landowners in redevelopment projects and about the ability… View Article

Insure All Georgians

By Ronald E. Bachman and Nancy Desmond If one of the major goals for Georgia is affordable health care coverage for all citizens, it is critical to achieve that goal within the framework of a “21st Century Intelligent Health System.”   In a 21st Century Intelligent Health System, individuals would have accurate, timely, personalized knowledge about their health and treatment options, including information about cost and quality. They would be assured that their treatment is based on the most up-to-date, evidence-based medicine, and there would be a focus on preventive care and early intervention. The system would encourage and reward wise health-care purchasing decisions and offer more choices of higher quality at lower cost.   A key test for any new health… View Article

Road to Congestion Relief Paved with Common Sense

By Benita M. Dodd When the Georgia Public Policy Foundation presented testimony to the State Board of Transportation’s Intermodal Committee in September opposing the proposed Atlanta-Lovejoy commuter rail line, the goal was not to sabotage a transportation alternative. The Foundation’s goal – a longstanding goal – was to urge the implementation of cost-effective, commonsense and viable transportation options that will actually relieve congestion in the metro Atlanta region.  In that vein, during a public comment period that ended November 30, the Foundation commended the innovative promise in the Governor’s Congestion Mitigation Task Force, representing a team of state and metro Atlanta agencies – and urged it to remain committed to its directive: providing a measure to prioritize congestion mitigation.  Judging… View Article

The Foundation raises issues of importance above political rhetoric to a point where politicians focus on them and ultimately make quality decisions.

U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson more quotes