Category: The Forum

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

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
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 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

Mugged by Reality

Eight Lessons We’ve Learned About the Epidemic of Crime and What to Do About it Eugene H. Methvin In the 30 years since Congress first established a federal agency for the study of crime, we have spent millions of dollars on criminological studies. That investment is finally bearing fruit. Aided by powerful new computers crunching reams of data, social scientists have learned a lot about criminal careers, how they develop, and how society can thwart them. The most serious offenders against people and property in this country generally hit their criminal peak between 16 and 18 years of age. The hard-core young thug-to-be starts stealing from mama’s purse before he’s 10. By the fourth and fifth grades, he is skipping… View Article
By Cameron Meierhoefer and Melissa Kelman Since the passage of the 1992 Energy Policy Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been laying the federal groundwork for deregulated wholesale competition in the electric power industry across the country. At the same time, states across the nation have begun evaluating retail competition, where individual customers can directly benefit from competitive pricing. In an effort to protect their regional monopolies, a number of utilities have warned that market forces cannot protect the public and ensure reliable service to meet all future demand. Yet, industrial users and local economic development authorities have supported careful deregulation as a safe and effective way to achieve lower electricity prices. As a consequence, state governments across… View Article

The Foundation should take a lot of pride in your influence on Georgia governmental policy over the past several years. If you look back on several things that you were crying in the wilderness about several years ago, you will find that Governor Miller adopted them…your influence and your pressure on that process has been a major factor in governmental policy in Georgia. You should be congratulated.

Governor Sonny Perdue more quotes