Category: Issue Analyses

The Fiscal Research Center (FRC) at Georgia State University has produced a report that contains a fiscal analysis of Georgia’s K-12 tuition tax credit scholarship program. In this study, Dr. Ben Scafidi shows that this fiscal analysis contains outright errors, implausible assumptions and a lack of balance about the likely effects of this program and a potential new program. Here is a link to the full paper: Fiscal Analysis of Popular School Choice Program Underestimates Savings to Georgia Taxpayers and Needs to Be Fixed View Article

Common Core

Background: The Common Core State Standards Initiative[1] defines itself as “a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt.” Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue co-chaired the initiative for the National Governors Association and the press conference for the national release of the Common Core standards was held in Georgia. The Georgia State Board of Education adopted the Common Core in 2010. Georgia joins 45 states that have adopted the Common Core standards for English language arts and math.[2] Georgia already had high academic standards in place. In 2004, Georgia adopted the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) for all subjects and all… View Article
By Eric Tresh Communications service providers offer voice, video and Internet access services to customers throughout Georgia. These services are provided by a number of different types of companies using a variety of broadband technologies. For example, telecommunications, satellite and Internet companies now offer video programming service. In addition, cable providers often have subsidiaries that provide voice services and a number of companies use the Internet to provide audio and video conferencing services. These services all benefit consumers and enhance productivity throughout the state. In addition to the benefits for consumers, broadband services are significant drivers of Georgia’s economy. Broadband providers invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year into Georgia’s economy, creating jobs and enhancing infrastructure. While technology has… View Article

Limiting Government Spending in Georgia

By E. Frank Stephenson One of the most important factors in determining a state’s quality of life and economic environment is the size of its government and the ability, via structural restrictions or the exercise of self-restraint by elected officials, to limit the tax burden that the state government and its local subsidiaries impose on the citizenry. Georgia, unlike many states, has no structural impediments to governmental growth and thus must rely solely on its elected officials to limit government spending.[1] Yet special interests seeking government favors and politicians trying to charm voters are reasons to doubt that elected officials provide an effective buffer against expanding government. This study examines the recent behavior of state and local spending in… View Article
By Mac Gibson and Josh Belinfante A rural Georgia hospital was forced to forego renovations and an expansion of its emergency room.[1] Family practitioners in central Georgia can no longer afford the medical malpractice insurance premiums that accompany delivering children or performing Caesarian sections.[2] Many radiologists are no longer reading mammograms because it can make their premiums unaffordable.[3] Malpractice lawsuits and insurance premiums are skyrocketing, and the litigation juggernaut affects the lives of Georgians every day. Georgia is representative of several states across the nation. The American Medical Association currently lists 19 states, including Georgia, as having a “medical malpractice crisis.”[4] A major cause of the crisis is the dramatic increases in the number of medical… View Article

The Atlanta Water Privatization: What Can We Learn?

By Geoffrey F. Segal I. Context In 1997, the City of Atlanta privatized their waterworks system, entering into a 20-year contract with United Water. At the time, it was the largest and longest privatization of infrastructure in U.S. history. The deal garnered many awards including one from the National Council on Public-Private Partnerships and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. However, in the past few months several issues have arisen in Atlanta regarding the performance of the water system, contractor payments or change orders, and the status of the system before the contract was entered into. Ultimately, while not perfect, the Atlanta water privatization presents a valuable opportunity from which to learn—if nothing else, it teaches us what not to do.… View Article
By Morgan Smith I. Summary In 2001, the Georgia Legislature convened a Study Committee in the House of Representatives to examine complaints raised by the state’s alcohol retailers about some businesses practices on the part of alcohol wholesalers. The subsequent examination of the state’s regulation of the alcohol distribution industry brought to light serious questions about the structure and value of economic protections provided to the wholesalers. It is widely accepted that state regulation of alcohol distribution is an important and necessary undertaking. But it is also clear that some elements of Georgia’s regulatory policy haven’t kept pace with changes in both the industry’s participants and the shape of the marketplace. As with all instances of state intervention in “special”… View Article

SyncTrans: A Vision for the Future of Mass Transit

By William V. McRae July 23, 2001 Foreword The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has focused much effort in recent years on sorting out the facts and identifying realistic solutions to Metro Atlanta’s transportation and air quality challenges. We have been quite skeptical of solutions based on light and heavy rail because very reliable data indicates that these modes of transportation will have little impact on traffic congestion and air quality because they do not attract a significant number of people out of their cars. For mass transit to entice drivers out of their cars, it must satisfy consumer demands. In other words, mass transit needs a better product. Despite these facts, the Metro Atlanta area seems intent upon building more … View Article

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage in Georgia

William S. Custer There are two primary reasons why the number of Georgians without health insurance is an important public policy issue.  First, there is a public health concern that lack of health insurance may result in sicker, less productive individuals.  Second, health care is not denied to those without health insurance. In fact, they consume a considerable amount of health care resources.  The cost of treating the uninsured is borne by taxpayers, by purchasers of private insurance, by providers, and by local communities.  These costs are not distributed efficiently or equitably. The uninsured face a much different process of health care than those with insurance.  They are much less likely to have a usual source of care, more likely… 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