Category: Commentaries

Death Taxes Cost Us Sprawl

Jefferson G. Edgens, Ph.D. Anti-sprawl or slow-growth campaigns have erupted across the nation during this decade. Slow-growth advocates claim sprawl costs us all.  What they should be saying is the death tax costs us sprawl. Indeed, the loss of farmland and wildlife habitat to an ever-increasing desire to live the American Dream has become a major political battle. Ironically, as anti-growth forces argue for more governmental restrictions, the elimination of one government policy —  the onerous and arbitrary federal ‘death’ or estate tax — could correct some of our sprawl-related problems. The estate tax — levied on the value of one’s assets (land, business, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc.) at the time of death — currently encompasses a broad… View Article

The Tide is Turning

By Kelly McCutchen “I think it’s so irritating that once I die, 55 percent of my money goes to the United States government. You know why that’s so irritating? Because you have already paid nearly 50 percent on that money.”  — Oprah Winfrey “…for too long the [British] tax system has undervalued entrepreneurship and investment.” — Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer (United Kingdom) When a pop icon like Oprah Winfrey and Britain’s Labor government both call for tax cuts, it is safe to say that the idea has become mainstream. Ms. Winfrey’s comment came during the taping of her television show. The shocker from Great Britain came from a March budget address by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown,… View Article

Should Georgia Adopt Early Voting?

Hans A. von Spakovsky1 In Georgia, as in other states, we are concerned over the continuing decline in voter turnout. On a national level, the 49% turnout in the presidential election of 1996 was the lowest turnout in a presidential election since Calvin Coolidge was elected in 1924 and the second lowest since 1824. The national turnout of 36%2 of the eligible electorate in the 1998 mid-term election was the lowest turnout in congressional elections since 1942, when America was deeply involved in World War II and millions of American servicemen were overseas. The turnout in Georgia was even lower: in 1996 it was 42.6% and in 1998 it was 31.6%. Early voting, the ability to vote a ballot… View Article

Electric Drive: The Standard for the 21st Century

John Wilson Global technology, environmental, and transportation trends are moving quickly toward a revolution in vehicles. The revolution can be seen as close as Centennial Olympic Park, the parking decks at Lenox Square, or the streets of Chattanooga. It can also be observed in street signs in Paris and La Rochelle, France, or as a topic of discussion in governments on every continent. It can even be found on the Web, where you can “buy into” this revolution with your credit card. The revolution is bringing clean, highly efficient, and ultra-quiet electric drives to buses, garbage trucks, pickups, sedans, delivery vehicles, scooters, and bikes. It is at the heart of the transformation of Chattanooga from “the dirtiest city in the… View Article
By Laura Creasy The Metropolitan Atlanta area continues to display one of the strongest and most diversified economies among major urban centers in the United States. Over the past few years, the Atlanta area has benefited from the growth of manufacturing headquarters, as well as the growth of technology-based industries. Indeed, Metro Atlanta’s high-tech workforce is one of the largest in the southeastern United States, which includes locally based companies such as BellSouth, MindSpring, and Scientific Atlanta, as well as internationally known firms such as Lucent Technologies. However, the area’s vibrant economy has also come at a cost – a population explosion that outpaces roadway capacity. During the past decade, the 13-county Atlanta metro area has grown significantly. More importantly,… View Article
By Michael Light Director, Georgia Parole Board Office of Criminal Justice Research The following article is reprinted with permission from the March 1999 edition of Georgia County Government Magazine, published by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the 85-year-old education, training and legislative advocacy organization of all 159 Georgia county governments. ACCG may be reached on the Web or by writing 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1000, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Today, Georgia stands at a crossroads in its criminal justice history where policymakers and lawmakers must pay careful attention to the thin line between tough laws and smart criminal justice decisions. Over the last ten years Georgia has spent billions to build thousands of new “hard” prison beds while enacting some… View Article
By Steve Langford The rush by many Georgia cities to enter new businesses and expand existing ones, in direct and unfair competition with small and large private companies, poses the primary long-term fiscal challenge to Governor Barnes and the Legislature. Many cities are adding to their traditional services — water, sewer, trash, gas and electric — such new ventures as cable TV, telecommunications, hotels, real estate development, construction services, appliance sales, etc. This alarming trend in local government is the purest form of socialism and is crashing onto the scene at a time when all other levels of government are discovering inefficiencies and privatizing services at a steady pace. The problems with government expansion into these areas are evident: Government… View Article

Obstruction of Justice: The State Crime Lab in Crisis

By Joe D. Whitley, Daniel J. Adamson In today’s atmosphere of political pragmatism and fiscal responsibility, few people see government as a cure-all for society’s ills; instead, our elected officials increasingly look for solutions in partnerships with the private sector. One such private-sector partnership should be considered as a means to improve the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) State Crime Lab. Founded nearly forty years ago as the second statewide forensics facility in the nation, our crime lab was once a leader in the field. Today, however, it is a prime example of a facility in need of massive reform. Georgia’s crime lab is plagued by neglect, an ever-increasing caseload, and problems resulting from changes in the nature and investigation… View Article

Should the Corporate Income Tax be Repealed?

By Martin F. Grace Georgia, like most of her sister states, has a corporate income tax. The corporate income tax was first introduced in Georgia in 1929. The rate has always been a flat proportional rate, fluctuating up and down during the years within the range of 4 percent and 7.5 percent. The present rate of 6 percent has not changed since 1969. The corporate franchise tax, levied on net worth, is administered in conjunction with the corporate income tax. In 1997, these two taxes constituted approximately 6.91 percent of the state’s tax revenues. However, this percentage fluctuates from year to year and has decreased over the past number of years. In 1997, corporations paid $729.5 million in these two… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen As has been well reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta’s next mayor faces a ticking time bomb – the city’s water and sewer system. Due to years of neglect and poor design, raw sewage continues to flow into Atlanta’s rivers and streams, polluting the waterways for both Atlanta citizens and Georgians living downstream. Even more frightening is the recent finding that the city’s drinking water is at risk of contamination. In addition, the lack of sewer capacity threatens to freeze economic growth – growth that is crucial to Atlanta’s and Georgia’s future. Where is the public outrage? Where is the Sierra Club? If the Dow Chemical Company had flagrantly dumped more than two million of gallons of… View Article

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U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson more quotes