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Friday Facts: October 23, 2020

It’s Friday! Quotes of Note “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” – Vince Lombardi “Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender.” – Keith Ellison “If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.” – James Madison Economy Ranking the … Continue Reading →

Do You Know What’s on Your Georgia Ballot?

By Kyle Wingfield Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of your ballot, and suddenly you’re faced with an unfamiliar constitutional amendment or referendum? These ballot questions usually don’t spawn millions of dollars in TV ads about what’s at stake. And the questions themselves often seem written intentionally vaguely. So let’s walk through the three statewide questions appearing on this year’s ballots. Amendment 1: For years, the General Assembly has passed various types of taxes or user fees. Also for years, the General Assembly has proclaimed that … Continue Reading →

Tax and Spend Tuesday: What’s in Store for YOUR Wallet?

Tax and Spend Tuesday: October 20, 2020 Welcome to the inaugural edition of Tax and Spend Tuesday, a roundup of news, views and policy proposals affecting your paycheck and pocketbook! The candidates: Our friends at the Tax Foundation have analyzed the tax plans of the presidential candidates. Democrat Joe Biden promises to cut taxes for Americans earning less than $400,000. Those making more, however will face double-digit tax increases, including higher taxes on individual income, capital gains and payroll. He would also raise the 21% corporate income tax rate to … Continue Reading →

Checking Up On Health: October 19, 2020

Checking Up On Health We’re back! After a three-year hiatus, “Checking Up On Health” is returning to the Foundation’s pages as part of Medical Monday. Look for our weekly healthcare- and technology-related policy news, views and commentaries. Looking back: President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment and apparent speedy recovery have been in the spotlight, especially amid the heated upcoming presidential election. This president isn’t the first to have to deal with illness during his term. Today, everyone knows about FDR’s polio, but it wasn’t common knowledge among voters then. Did you … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: October 16, 2020

It’s Friday!  Quotes of Note “The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms – in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble. There is no question that this Country has faced, and will face, emergencies of every sort. But the solution to a national crisis can never be permitted to supersede the commitment to individual liberty that stands as the foundation of the American experiment.” – William S. Stickland IV, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania … Continue Reading →

Foundation Welcomes Feds’ OK of Healthcare Waivers

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Seema Verma, administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced today that the federal government will approve Georgia’s healthcare waiver requests, both for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Kyle Wingfield, President and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, released this statement in response: The Foundation has worked for years on policies that would enable all Georgians and their families to have a say in their healthcare options and affordability. The federal waivers approved today are an important step in … Continue Reading →

To the Georgia State Schools Superintendent, from a Georgia Public Schools Graduate

By Kyle Wingfield To: Richard Woods, State Schools SuperintendentFrom: A Georgia public schools graduate, parent and observerRe: Standardized testing Dear Mr. Woods, Last month, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made clear she wouldn’t waive federal testing requirements as you’d requested. You responded by railing against “high stakes testing” and proposing in its place no-stakes testing. The state Board of Education, however, rejected your proposal. Now you’re seeking public comment on the board’s compromise plan to make the tests worth half as much as usual. As your public-comment portal does not … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: October 9, 2020

It’s Friday! Quotes of Note “Wealth inequality is indeed increasing, the country does need more tax revenue, and special interests can get government favors. But none of these reasons justifies a wealth tax, which could damage the economy while raising little revenue. Instead, a better solution for raising additional revenue would be to remove the many existing distortions in the tax system.” – Manhattan Institute “Concerns about social media use and its impact on teen mental and social health were widespread before the pandemic, but it could be particularly troubling … Continue Reading →

Voters’ Guide to the 2020 Georgia Ballot Initiatives

Examining Georgia’s two statewide proposed constitutional amendments. Reason Foundation has analyzed proposed amendments on state ballots around the nation, including two on the Georgia ballot. The analysis, published below, is available on Reason’s website. Click to navigate to each amendment analysis: Georgia Ballot Initiative Analysis: Amendment 1 — Dedicating Tax and Fee Revenue Georgia’s Amendment 1 would dedicate all taxes or fees to the specific program or purpose to which the taxes or fees were imposed. Georgia Ballot Initiative Analysis: Amendment 2 — Declaratory Relief from Certain Laws  Georgia’s Amendment … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: October 2, 2020

It’s Friday! Quotes of Note “Rather than looking to our celebrities or other influential figures, it’s time to look around us. The family structure builds strong character among men and women, which furthers strong communities, and which collectively creates and sustains a strong nation.” – Armstrong Williams “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to … Continue Reading →

Foundation Releases ‘Guide to The Issues 2020’

NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release October 1, 2020 Contact: Keara Vickers Kearav@georgiapolicy.org 404-256-4050 Foundation Releases ‘Guide to The Issues 2020’ Atlanta – The Georgia Public Policy Foundation released its Guide to The Issues 2020 today, providing policy recommendations on 13 critical areas that state policymakers are expected to – and should – tackle in the upcoming legislative session and the near future. Distributed by the Foundation for more than two decades, the Guide to The Issues is published online this year. Georgia-focused policy proposals are rooted in the Foundation’s guiding … Continue Reading →

Education: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Curriculum standards should be rigorous, clear and measurable. All students should be held to high standards and high expectations. Teacher recruitment, education, training and compensation should be focused on attracting and retaining high quality teachers.School finance should be on a child basis, not a district basis, so that the money follows the child. Education should be personalized to meet students’ diverse needs and provide the maximum amount of choice for each to find the educational setting best suited for them. Download the Education chapter of the 2020 Guide to … Continue Reading →

Occupational Licensing: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles Citizens have a right to pursue a legal occupation, and the burden should fall on the government to justify any restrictions to that right. Restrictions on economic liberty should be targeted at protecting health and safety, and policy-makers should demand proof that there is a clear, likely and well-established danger to the public. Government should use the least restrictive means to address any danger to the public. Download the Occupational Licensing chapter of the Guide to the Issues 2020 here Read the full Guide to the Issues 2020 Recommendations: … Continue Reading →

Medicaid: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Government should be willing to spend what it is already spending, but in a more rational manner. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually in Georgia on uncompensated care for the uninsured. Uninsured Georgians do get sick; one way or another, we all pay for their care in a way that is terribly inefficient. Money should follow people. While it is important to support the institutions and providers that make up Georgia’s safety net, solutions should be people-centered, not institution-centered. Innovation requires flexibility and choices. Micromanaging every last … Continue Reading →

Tax Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Minimize the impact of taxes on economic growth. Taxes are necessary to fund core government services, but every additional dollar of taxes is a discretionary dollar taken away from a family. A decision to raise taxes is an explicit decision that a government program has a higher priority and importance than individual decisions. The private sector is the source of all wealth and is what drives improvements in the standard of living in a market-based economy. Taxes should consume as small a portion of income as possible, should not interfere … Continue Reading →

Criminal Justice Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Public safety is a core responsibility of government. A well-functioning criminal justice system enforces order and respect for every person’s right to property and life, and ensures that liberty does not lead to license. As with any government program, the criminal justice system must be transparent and include performance measures that hold it accountable for its results in protecting the public, lowering crime rates, reducing re-offending, collecting victim restitution and conserving taxpayers’ money. An ideal criminal justice system works to reform amenable offenders who will return to society through … Continue Reading →

Tort Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Tort reforms should accomplish the following goals: Provide a fair and efficient legal system. Reduce the prevalence of legal abuse and fraudulent claims filed. Ensure patients have access to fair and reasonable compensation for legitimate medical injuries. Reduce liability insurance premiums for health care providers. Reduce the rates of preventable patient injuries. Download the Tort Reform chapter of the Guide to the Issues 2020 here Read the full Guide to the Issues 2020   Recommendation: Cap premises liability. Limit nuclear verdicts and reinstate medical liability caps. Replace Georgia’s current … Continue Reading →

Pension Reform: Guide to the Issues 2020

Principles: Any reforms to pensions should consider the long-term solvency of a plan and protect the promised benefits for employees already in the system. The benefits in a public employee retirement system should be sustainable, secure and affordable: Provide retirement security for all members (current and future) and retirees. Manage and mitigate taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and market risk. Reduce long-term costs for employers or taxpayers as well as employees. Stabilize contribution rates. Ensure the ability to recruit employees. Improve governance & transparency. The best pension … Continue Reading →

Higher Education: Guide to the Issues 2020

Facts: Georgia ranks 31st in terms of postsecondary participation, but has the eighth largest net full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment in the United States (excluding medical students). In 2018, 52.6% of Georgia’s young adults were enrolled in postsecondary education or had earned a degree, compared to 56.5% nationally. The average amount of annual in-state tuition and fees at Georgia’s public four-year universities increased by 1.95% over the past five years. The national average during this time was 9.61%. Georgia’s average amount of tuition and fees, $8,719, also ranks below the national … Continue Reading →

Fiscal Overview: Guide to the Issues 2020

Download the Fiscal Overview chapter of the Guide to the Issues 2020 here Read the full Guide to the Issues 2020 How the state budget process works Georgia’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. Each January, when the legislative session begins, the fiscal year is just over its halfway point, requiring the General Assembly to pass two budgets: an “amended” budget, which makes adjustments to the budget for the current fiscal year, and a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Unlike the federal government, Georgia’s Constitution mandates a … Continue Reading →