Category: The Forum

Tear Down This Wall

By Ronald E. Bachman Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has announced a noble plan to reach 30,000 of the state’s uninsured; Lieutenant Governor Casey has a good plan to reach others. The challenge, however, is that more than 1.6 million Georgians lack private or government insurance.   The legislative wake up call should be about this unacceptable level of Georgians without Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, Tri-care or private health insurance. This is the problem that every American hears about; and is the major argument for a federal takeover of health care. With more than 18 percent of this state’s 9 million citizens uninsured at any point in time, Georgia has the fifth highest uninsured rate, behind Oklahoma, Florida, New Mexico and Texas.  Those… View Article

Transportation Solutions For a Transit-Challenged Region

By Stephen Fleming  (Part II of a two-part commentary. Read Part I, “In Transportation, as in Technology, Packets Beat Circuits,” at http://www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=5482.)  Atlanta grew up around cars. It’s fundamentally a packet-switched infrastructure. Ask any telecom engineer. You cannot replace a packet-switched infrastructure with circuit switching for any reasonable amount of money. Can’t be done.  “But they do it in New York City,” I hear you cry. Yes, and that’s because New York City grew up around mass transit. It’s physically different from Atlanta (or pretty much any other town in America outside the Northeast, except maybe Chicago). The circuits are dense enough to have connection points within walking distance.  Look at the cities with successful public transit… View Article
By Chris Leonard Why are people carrying their laptop computers into parks and coffee shops? To finalize a presentation for work? To catch up on e-mail? Well, these days it’s to chat, read or do just about anything you can do on the Internet at home.   Now, thanks to a state grant (read: taxpayer funds) Decatur will soon become the first metro Atlanta city to offer wireless Internet access outdoors. These citywide Internet “clouds” are popping up all over the state.  The idea for universal Internet access seems great. Bringing people out of stuffy offices and letting them surf the net on every street corner in the city sounds like the wave of the future. But whenever things seem too… View Article

Eminent Domain Protection’s No Done Deal

By Jason Pye  This month marks the second anniversary of the infamous Kelo v. New London decision, a case where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the taking of private property (the practice known as eminent domain) from an individual or a group of individuals and giving it to a private entity on the basis of economic development is a legitimate function of government.   The outrage against the high court’s Kelo decision was the impetus for legislative efforts across the country. Many of these bills lacked any real substance, however, and did very little to protect property rights. The most effective legislation was passed in Florida, where a new constitutional amendment forbids the taking of private property even to eliminate… View Article

Water: Balloons, Guns, Slides in Policy

By Benita M. Dodd  Don’t like the drought-related watering restrictions in your community? Outraged enough to rat out neighbors who violate watering rules? The state’s water “wars” could get worse: Watch out for the initial draft of the Statewide Water Management Plan, scheduled to be unveiled June 28.  The plan, required by the 2004 “Comprehensive State-wide Water Management Planning Act,” is the beginning of a new direction for Georgia’s future growth, development and economy. Developed by the state Environmental Protection Division, this policy framework will be presented to the Water Council for consideration through December, after which it goes to the General Assembly in 2008 for approval.   Georgians need to stay involved to ensure the end product promises responsible stewardship… View Article
By Dr. Holly Robinson In the same week recently, the city of Marietta’s Sawyer Road Elementary School had its charter approved to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) conversion charter school and second-grade teacher Emily Jennette was selected as the 2008 Georgia Teacher of the Year.    The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is built in units that focus on inquiry framed units across disciplinary themes of global significance. The program is especially appropriate for this new Georgia Teacher of the Year who, as the educational ambassador for Georgia’s public schools, represents Georgia public school teachers across the state.  Growing up in Germany in a military family, Jenette attended Department of Defense schools from elementary to high school. She graduated from Germany’s… View Article
By David Boaz Four hundred years ago this month 105 men and boys disembarked from three ships and established the first permanent English settlement in North America. They built a fort along what they called the James River, in honor of their king. The land was lush and fertile, yet within three years most of the colonists died during what came to be known as “the starving time.” Only the establishment of private property saved the Jamestown colony.  What went wrong? There were the usual hardships of pioneers far from home, such as unfamiliar diseases. There were mixed relations with the Indians already living in Virginia. Sometimes the Indians and settlers traded, other times armed conflicts broke out. But according… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman Governor Perdue said at the opening of the 2007 session, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” The “main things” for 2007 were listed as jobs, education and health care. In response to this challenge, legislators are discussing a number of creative approaches to health care during this year’s legislative session. These proposals are important: They could save hundreds of lives, improve the health of thousands of individuals and increase the personal and family security for millions of Georgians. Healthcare Visions Inc. estimates that these ideas would lower health insurance premiums by 40-56 percent and would provide the opportunity for about 500,000 of the more than 1.6 million uninsured Georgians find and afford health insurance. Insurance… View Article

Laying the groundwork for major fiscal reform

By Kelly McCutchen With more than a half-billion-dollar budget surplus and a booming stock market, Georgia’s economic future looks bright. Of course, things looked bright in the late 1990s, too. Trying to gauge the economy 12-18 months into the future is difficult, if not impossible, but that is exactly what state legislators are asked to do each year when they pass a budget. Even as this year’s session features debate on grand ideas, legislators’ priority should be to lay the foundation for reforms that will strengthen Georgia’s economy in good times and bad. At least 10 major tax reform ideas have emerged over the past year. Many of these ideas may appear attractive at first glance, but each should be… View Article

Facts Not Fear on Air Pollution

By Joel Schwartz Air pollution has been declining for decades across the United States, yet most Americans still believe air pollution is a growing problem and a serious threat to their health. The reason: Most information on air pollution from environmentalists, regulators and journalists – the public’s main sources for information on the environment – is false. Air quality in America’s cities is better than ever. Between 1980 and 2005: ● Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) declined 40 percent. ● Peak 8-hour ozone (O3) levels declined 20 percent, and days per year exceeding the 8-hour ozone standard fell 79 percent. ● Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels decreased 37 percent, sulfur dioxide (SO2) dropped 63 percent and carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations were reduced… View Article

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U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell more quotes