Category: The Forum

Gwinnett Transit Vote a Mixed Bag

By Benita Dodd Before Gwinnett County voters even decide whether their transit plan leaves the station, it will cost taxpayers almost $770,000. That’s the cost of holding the election on March 19 instead of during last November’s general election. Such special elections are notorious for low turnout, bringing out the diehards on either side of an issue. They’re a waste of taxpayer money, a way for politicians to limit opposing voices, and they deserve to be outlawed. At the polls, Gwinnett’s voters face an especially vague referendum question – another practice long overdue for legislative change: “Gwinnett County has executed a contract for the provision of transit services, dated as of August 2, 2018. Shall this contract be approved? YES… View Article

Give Georgia’s Students Choices, Not Excuses

By Kyle Wingfield In almost a decade of writing about school choice, I’ve heard every excuse imaginable to oppose giving students and families educational options. I’ve heard critics say school choice is only for “the rich.” Not true – families of means already have options, thanks to their ability to pay private school tuition or move into a neighborhood with good public schools; school choice is about extending that liberty to those without means. I’ve heard critics say school choice hurts students who remain in public schools. In fact, as a 2016 review of the 33 empirical studies on the topic reported, “31 find that choice improves academic outcomes at public schools. One of the remaining studies finds that choice… View Article

Friday Facts: March 8, 2018

It’s Friday! Quotes of note “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain “Our goal is not simply to send children to school. Our goal is to educate children.” – Greg Dolezal, Georgia state senator “When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” – George Washington Carver We’re hiring! The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is on the lookout for an entry-level development associate. Find out more at https://talentmarket.org/devo-assoc-gppf/. Events March 21: “Shining a Light on Government,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast with veteran investigative reporter Richard Belcher of WSB-TV in celebration of Sunshine Week on Thursday,… View Article
Maureen Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog on AJC.com published, “Opinion: New study suggests vouchers may help Georgia public schools,” an op-ed by Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, on March 3, 2019. The op-ed is published below. Access the op-ed online at https://www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/opinion-new-study-suggests-vouchers-may-help-georgia-public-schools/hnoULPdg9z0XZ2Zgq8HGTN/?. Opinion: New study suggests vouchers may help Georgia public schools Kyle Wingfield, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion columnist, is president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute. In this guest column, Wingfield says legislation in the Georgia House and Senate allowing tax dollars to go toward private school tuition may help public education’s bottom line. Senate Bill 173 passed out of committee Thursday in a 9-3… View Article

Friday Facts: March 1, 2019

It’s Friday! Events March 21: “Shining a Light on Government,” a Leadership Breakfast with Richard Belcher of WSB-TV in celebration of Sunshine Week on Thursday, March 21, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. $30. Information and registration here. March 21-23: Academic Freedom and Free Speech Conference at Emory University, bringing together academics and student-affairs professionals. Information here.  April 17: Mark your calendar for a Leadership Breakfast with Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, sponsor of the FIRST STEP Act, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County to celebrate Second Chance Month. $30. Details to follow. May 23: Mark your calendar for a Policy Briefing Luncheon with David French of National Review on Thursday,… View Article

Baby Steps in Teacher Pension Reform

By Kyle Wingfield They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The implication is that the first step won’t be the last. That’s the right way to think about House Bill 109, which is intended to address the increasingly worrisome debt for Georgia’s teacher pension system. It’s an initial step toward securing the retirement income promised to our public-school teachers past and present, but it isn’t nearly enough to take the system as far as it needs to go. The bill authored by Rep. Tommy Benton, a Republican from Jefferson and retired teacher, would make a few changes to the pensions of new teachers starting July 1. They wouldn’t be eligible for a pension until… View Article

Heartland Institute Urges Georgia to Address CON Reform

In this Research & Commentary published February 26, 2019, Matthew Glans of the Heartland Institute examines the revived debate in Georgia over the state’s controversial certificate of need program. The commentary is published in full below and can be accessed online here. Georgia  Should Address CON Reform By Matthew Glans Georgia is one of 35 states that institute certificate of need (CON) laws. First passed in the 1960s to deter increasing health care costs, CON laws were supposed to limit duplication and promote health care consolidation. In essence, CON programs require health care providers to receive state approval to increase facilities and services. However, CON laws can also restrict existing providers from expanding services or new providers from entering… View Article
The Economics of Building a Voucher or Educational Savings Account Program in Georgia By Jeffrey Dorfman Executive Summary The economics of vouchers and educational savings accounts (ESAs, also known as educational scholarship accounts) are central to their political success because attracting sufficient political support for such educational choice programs depends at least partially on persuading opponents that these programs will not deprive schools of needed funding for the remaining students. The economic concept at the heart of this dispute is marginal cost. Marginal cost, in the education context, is the additional cost incurred from educating one more student (or the amount expenditures can be reduced if educating one fewer student). If vouchers or ESAs remove funding from a school’s… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Housing needs, trends and designs change constantly. Through the years, homebuilders have learned to meet the needs, wants and pocketbooks of homebuyers while innovating and adapting to meet changing standards for safety, land use and environmental protection. Now, however, elected officials are changing that dynamic. Local governments are stifling innovation, mandating aesthetics and materials, restricting designs and layouts, all while infringing upon the rights of private property owners. This week (February 20), the Georgia House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee narrowly approved a bill that would prohibit local governments from imposing “architectural ordinances” on new home construction. It must make its way through the Legislature. Consider the enormous differences among the Sears kit home, Craftsman bungalow,… View Article

The Foundation raises issues of importance above political rhetoric to a point where politicians focus on them and ultimately make quality decisions.

U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson more quotes