Category: Foundation in the News

Short Session Shouldn’t Keep Legislators From Reforms

By KELLY McCUTCHEN Their sights may be set on the looming election season and campaigns, but a reluctance to rock the boat is no reason for Georgia legislators to keep 2014’s short legislative session in the doldrums when there are opportunities to move forward on policy in Georgia. With the exception of criminal justice, Georgia has left public policy innovation to states like Florida, Indiana and Louisiana. With income tax, pension and major education funding reforms pushed to 2015, tort reform could be the issue that puts Georgia in the national spotlight. Sen. Brandon Beach’s Patient Injury Act would eliminate medical malpractice litigation. Democrats and Republicans alike acknowledge shortfalls in the current medical malpractice system. For the poor and middle… View Article
An article in The Atlanta Business Chronicle edition of November 22-28, 2013, cites the Foundation’s work on tax reform in 2013. Headlined, “Discussion beginning on Georgia tax changes,” the article quotes Kelly McCutchen, Foundation president, and Christine Ries, Foundation Senior Fellow. http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/print-edition/2013/11/22/discussion-beginning-on-georgia-tax.html Leslie Johnson, Contributing Writer Progress on tax reform legislation in Georgia may not be around the corner, but that hasn’t stopped discussion on the subject and pushes to move forward. One of the issues at the heart of the debate is the state’s income tax. Proponents of lowering or eliminating it say doing so would make a huge difference to Georgia’s economy. Kelly McCutcheon, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, explained to a Georgia… View Article
The Friday, Nov.1,  2013 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an op-ed by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on rollbacks in benefits for food stamp recipients, entitled, “No Grandstanding, End the Spending.” http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-forward/2013/10/31/why-cut-food-stamps/ By Benita M. Dodd The numbers certainly are a cause for concern. The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as the food stamp program, reached nearly 14 percent of U.S. households in 2012. That’s up from 8.6 percent in 2008, at the height of the economic recession. Today, about 48 million Americans rely on the taxpayer-funded program, to the tune of $78 billion a year. In metro Atlanta, households receiving SNAP benefits have doubled from 7 percent to more than 14 percent; about 60… View Article
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Sunday editorial on June 23, 2013, mentioned the Foundation’s proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion: “This spring, the pro-free market Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Kelly McCutchen wrote that public hospitals are required to care for anyone who shows up in their emergency rooms, ‘regardless of their ability to pay. So even if Medicaid did not exist, taxpayers and citizens would be paying for health care for the poor and uninsured.’ McCutchen suggests that a more efficient alternative is to grant state credits to low-income people that would go toward costs of private health insurance. If people didn’t use the credits, the allocated money would then go to safety-net health care providers. “Ideas like these show that states and View Article
Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kelly McCutchen wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the June 23, 2013 issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in response to an editorial on civil asset forfeiture in Georgia: Innocent parties lose under current laws “Court of public opinion” (Opinion, June 16) highlights the questionable  spending of forfeiture funds but ignores the larger issue: Innocent property owners are losing their property. Your property can be seized in Georgia even if you have not been convicted or even accused of a crime. Even worse, the burden of proof is on y0u — not on the state — to prove your innocence and you must sue to retrieve your property. Questionable spending… View Article
Streetcar costs are climbing, and not just in Atlanta. A reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer sought the Foundation’s analysis of rising costs after a $17.4 million budget gap for that city’s controversial streetcar project was announced — and planners warned it won’t be the last increase. Among the problems in Atlanta’s case, “Nobody had an accurate indication of the underground infrastructure,” said Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, an Atlanta-based think tank. “Now, there’s a huge battle as to who’s going to pay for that” cost overrun. http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130513/NEWS/305130021 View Article
In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of May 12, 2013, political columnist Jim Galloway addressed the growing controversy over the Common Core Standards. His article hinted at one possible solution to the problem, pointing out that Scott Johnson, a newly appointed member of the state school board, has asked the Georgia Public Policy Foundation “to examine Common Core this summer and separate truth from fantasy.” “I want an honest broker to look at this thing,” Johnson said. “I’d be satisfied with that.” Read more: http://tinyurl.com/cnlpu4c. View Article
Columnist Kyle Wingfield of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution cited the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in his May 2, 2013, column on a regional approach to transportation: “[T]he state could change the law to allow individual counties to use a different special local-option sales tax, for instance the E-SPLOST, for multiple purposes including transportation. As the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has reported, Georgia ranks eighth nationally in k-12 infrastructure spending and 22nd for all infrastructure — but just 41st in transportation infrastructure. It just might be time for counties to re-prioritize their existing spending, which could include working jointly with other counties on road or transit projects.” http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/kyle-wingfield/2013/may/02/people-are-thinking-more-local-less-centralized/ View Article
Foundation in The News: The Rome News-Tribune cited Foundation President Kelly McCutchen in an article in which Dr. Ben Carson proposed ending property taxes and replacing them with a statewide tax: His suggestion to replace local property taxes with state funding isn’t so easy to do, according to Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. It would mean raising state taxes equal to double the current income tax. Even then, the idea could backfire. Much of the difference comes from the amount  local districts choose to add to what the state already funds, and even under  Carson’s proposal, the local supplements could create regional differences,  McCutchen said. Spending per pupil in public schools in Georgia counties ranges  from… View Article

Student Outreach Scholarship Program Announcement

This week the Georgia Public Policy Foundation formally announced its new Student Outreach Scholarship Program that will enable university students to network with leading conservative policy makers at no charge to the students or to their schools.  Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd unveiled the scholarship program at our April 23 telemedicine leadership event. “It’s called the S.O.S. program because we need to start Saving Our Students,” Dodd said.  “We have liberal academia out there who are seizing the moment and we are lagging so what we decided to do is sponsor at least a table of students at every event.” Half a dozen Georgia Institute of Technology students were on-hand Tuesday morning to hear state public commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald… View Article

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