Category: The Forum

A Fine Week for Freedom

By Kelly McCutchen Limited government, free markets and private property are the cornerstones of the American success story, but these freedoms can slowly erode over time: Government involves itself in activities never imagined by our Founding Fathers. Regulations multiply as individual responsibility declines and private property rights are weakened for the “common good.” Legislative study committees have become the unlikely forum for leaders concerned about this silent creep of government. In years past, moving legislation to a study committee in the Georgia General Assembly was the political equivalent of being banished to Siberia, never to be seen or heard from again. It was the honorable way to kill a bill, saving the sponsor the embarrassment of having that bill voted… 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

Buffer Taxpayers From Government Spendthrifts

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 to limit the tax burden that the state government and its local subsidiaries impose on the citizenry. Twenty-seven states have some form of tax and expenditure limitation; Georgia has no structural impediments to governmental growth and must rely solely on its elected officials to limit government spending. Yet special interests seeking government favors and politicians trying to charm voters lead many people to doubt that elected officials provide an effective buffer against expanding government. Georgia residents’ tax burden was 8.7 percent of their income in 1970, but gradually crept up to… View Article
By Geoffrey F. Segal and Benita M. Dodd Long ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that “government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.” The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing government to seize unblemished private property for “economic development” is one indication of the myriad ways that government can grow. And no longer is it enough to limit government growth by closing taxpayers’ wallets. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation joined the amicus curiae filing in the case of Kelo v. New London to highlight concerns about local governments’ abuse of eminent domain. The city of New London, Conn., had condemned… View Article

TMDLs: Tall Tale of Fishes and Silt

By Harold Brown The king of Clearwater liked to fish, but he was distraught that he could catch only a few, or none, in the streams near the castle and sent his Knights of Fisheries to investigate. The Knights of Fisheries learned that a witch from the neighboring kingdom of Sweetwater had cast a spell to warn all fish away from the streams near the castle. The witch was dead, but apparently her spell lived on. Concerned, the king ordered the fishery knights to draw up an “anti-witchery plan” for the fish-poor streams of his kingdom. It turns out, however, that the fish knew nothing of the witch’s works; in fact, they just didn’t like the streams of Clearwater. When… View Article

Governing By Network Has Challenges, Rewards

By Benita M. Dodd For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost, goes the rhyme. To Stephen Goldsmith, Harvard professor and former two-term mayor of Indianapolis, sometimes it’s for want of a water cooler that government opportunity is lost. In their new book, “Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector,” Goldsmith and co-author William D. Eggers make it clear that government agencies are well past the debate about “whether” to contract out instead of handling work themselves. Today, the question is “how” to manage the transformed “government by network” that is replacing the traditional, hierarchical bureaucracy. The book is a reality check in a process that can easily fail, but is doable – if government learns… View Article
By Dr. Holly Robinson and Eric Wearne Fulton Science Academy, a 3-year-old charter school in Alpharetta, is one of the many charter schools in America participating in a well-deserved celebration of National Charter School Week, May 1-7. The school focuses its curriculum on math and science instruction, which its mission statement describes as “the key to future success.” The results are reflected in the improvement in achievement and overall educational experiences of the school’s 320 students. On the 2004 CRCT, 100 percent of the school’s eighth-graders met or exceeded expectations in Reading, and 95 percent did so in English, Math, Social Studies and Science. The school also made “Adequate Yearly Progress” last year under No Child Left Behind. This is… View Article
By Dudley Rochelle and Jack Lambremont Some labor organizations see a conspiracy in calls to create safeguards that would prevent unions in Georgia from improperly using their members’ dues to fund political activity. But it is merely common sense to require labor organizations not covered by federal labor laws to set up separate funds for political purposes – and to ensure there are aboveboard methods by which those labor organizations may solicit contributions for political use.  So why is it common sense for unions to support such protections? Union membership is declining in Georgia, judging by numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics. In 2003, union membership was 249,000 strong, or 6.7 percent of the work force;… View Article

Patient Safety is the Important Issue

By Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald As medical malpractice reform is debated in the General Assembly, it is critical to keep in focus that the way we handle medical mistakes must ultimately protect patients and improve their care. The current system is not doing that. Of all the statistics being discussed, the most important for patients is that the risk of medical injury due to physician negligence is the same today as it was 30 years ago: A California study of hospital admissions in 1974 revealed that 1 percent of all admissions resulted in a significant medical injury due to medical negligence. A similar study by Harvard in New York in 1984 revealed that 1 percent of all admissions resulted in significant… View Article

HOT Lanes Moving Right Along For Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd Help is finally on the way for frustrated travelers once resigned to the absence of wide-open roads in metro Atlanta as policy-makers conquer the anti-automobile agenda and focus on reality-based transportation solutions. Two promising signs came just this week. One was the Atlanta Regional Commission’s official adoption of its $53 billion Mobility 2030 transportation plan for the region. The ARC allocates more than half of the $53 billion to routine maintenance and operations. About $8.2 billion will add roadway capacity; $5 billion will increase transit capacity; $4.6 billion will add high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes; about $3 billion will focus on transportation technology and $1.1 billion will be spent on bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Unfortunately, the ARC… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.

Former Georgia Senate Minority Leader Chuck Clay more quotes