Category: The Forum

A Federal Spending Freeze is Not Enough

According to the US Debt Clock web site, our unfunded liabilities are now well over $100 trillion, which dwarfs the "official" national debt of $14 trillion. President Obama called for a spending freeze last night, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution touched on some of the reaction this morning. This past election should have sent a clear message that we want a smaller government. We’ve been fiscally irresponsible for too long, we have built up a debt that threatens to crush our economic growth and national security and simply frreezing spending isn't enough. In many ways, Georgia would be better off if the federal government reduced spending. We are a net loser in transportation funding, getting back much less than we… View Article

Georgia Department of Corrections Commended for Forward Thinking on Telemedicine Solutions

The Georgia Department of Corrections understands the impact that telemedicine has on the correctional system and has incorporated the concept into its FY’03 Annual Report (http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/pdf/hsovrFY03.pdf) identified the use of five specialty telemedicine clinics: Dermatology, Podiatry, Gastrointestinal, Infectious Disease, and General Medicine. According to the 8-10-2010 Georgia Department of Corrections FY ’09 Annual Report (http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/Research/Annual/GDC_annual_report_FY2009.pdf) healthcare costs will comprise up to 20% of a prisons budget. The strategic plan in the report identified Decreasing Revenues and Budget Cuts as well as Increasing Need for Mental Health Services as challenges. Leveraging technology is a stated goal. The strategic plan identifies an Expansion of Telepsychiatry as one of the processes to achieve the stated goals. Benefits of telemedicine include:… View Article

Friday Facts: January 21st, 2011

It’s Friday! Join our Forum! – If you like the Friday Facts, you’ll love the Forum. This interactive community is a series of issue-oriented blogs where you can find breaking stories and analysis from Foundation experts. This week, Mike Klein provided daily stories on the budget hearings and we started analyzing various parts of the Tax Reform Council’s plan. Each issue area has its own RSS feed; join the discussion today! Quotations – “‘Public Education’ should mean public funds to educate children – not to support specific school systems. We need to let all parents decide where they send their children to school.” – “Reach for the Stars: A Proposal for Education Reform in Georgia,” Georgia Public Policy Foundation,… View Article

Foundation’s Role Pivotal in Georgia’s Lessons in School Choice

Commentary By Benita M. Dodd National School Choice Week is Jan. 23-29. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and was a pioneer in the push to expand education choices for all Georgia’s children, joins a dozen organizations at the state Capitol on Tuesday for a School Choice Celebration and Rally. Long before the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grants, long before the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind law, the Foundation was championing the right of parents to have a greater say and choice in how best to educate their children. In 1991, when the Foundation was established, school choice became one of its first priorities. Its first major publication was, “Reach… View Article

Proven Solution to Reducing Crime and Recidivism While Saving Money

When searching for solutions to Georgia's budget crisis, we should look to expanding current programs that are showing results. Drug Courts were established in Georgia in 1994 and offer an alternative to incarceration that requires accountability and treatment.  Drug Court graduates receive significantly fewer new felony and misdemeanor charges and convictions are much less likely to be incarcerated in prison.   The cost for an offender per year in a Drug Court program is significantly less than incarceration. "Managing a drug offender in the community costs much less than sending a person to prison. One year in Drug Court costs Georgia about 1/4 the cost of one year in prison $18,852." Source: Georgia Department of Corrections and Administrative Office of the Courts Our… View Article

Repeal Vote Should Start Focus on New Ideas

To be intellectually honest, when you support a tax cut, you also need to be prepared to reduce spending. Along these same lines, the House needs to stand ready to debate new health care reform ideas after they vote today to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Representatives Paul Ryan and Georgia's Tom Price have demonstrated strong leadership in this respect.  For some good ideas of where to start, here is an excellent article by our senior fellow, John Goodman. He discusses ten structural flaws in the current law along with market-oriented solutions:               1. An Impossible Mandate Problem: The ACA requires individuals to buy a health insurance plan whose cost will grow at… View Article

Wall Street Journal: Georgia Tax Plan is the Anti-Illinois

The editorial page of today's Wall Street Journal praised Georgia's proposed tax reform plan as "The Anti-Illinois." It praised the plan for following "the first principle of a sound and fair tax system: Apply a low rate to a broad base" and encouraged the state to move toward reducing income tax rates to zero to compete with Florida and Texas. Excerpts of the editorial are below: The genius of American federalism is that states can choose to walk off a policy cliff—or not. Illinois has just raised taxes, but Georgia may be moving in the opposite direction by cutting taxes to make the state a more attractive destination for workers and business. A bipartisan tax commission chartered last year by… View Article

Misuse of Fees Weakens Trust in Government

And we wonder why trust in government is on the decline. James Salzer has a great article in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution exposing how the state has been diverting fee revenues to balance the budget. These are the types of actions that erode the public's confidence in government. Choosing to extend the tolls on Georgia 400 without much public debate was another recent example. Once the economy recovers, these fee revenues should be returned and steps taken to protect these funds going forward. … View Article

Rhode Island Leads the Way in Medicaid Reform

In 2009, the State of Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive block grant funding for Medicaid. Since then, they have saved money without reducing eligibility. In face, this is one reason why they had a large budget surplus in FY 2010. Rhode Island is successfully showing that more money is not the solution; comprehensive reform and freedom from onerous federal mandates work. Their Global Medicaid Waiver is seen as a model for state Medicaid reform and could be replicated by each state. Read more in the Galen Institute's 11-page summary.… View Article

Friday Facts: January 14th, 2011

It’s Friday!  Quotations – “You could take a poll and see what the public says it wants, but what the public says it wants at any particular moment is not identical with the public interestThe public is made up of individuals, most of whom have no better idea what is in the best interest of people they have never met and know nothing about than you do – and practicallyall of whom will lie when asked what it is they really want: They’ll say they want opera broadcasts and educational programming and organic chard and more foreign news in the newspaper, but in real life their revealed preferences are pretty much classic rock, fantasy-football stats, and those… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.

Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State more quotes