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Friday Facts: October 15, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Holding water: From privatization to public-private partnerships to express toll lanes, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has never shied away from market-based proposals that have generated controversy at the time. One example is “Water Permit Transfers: Bridging The Misinformation Gap,” a study published in 2003. With the memory of a four-year drought fresh in the minds of Georgians and the state’s agricultural sector, the study proposed that  farmers be allowed to transfer their water withdrawal permits “as an opportunity to encourage balanced growth in Georgia and … Continue Reading →

Georgia is Changing, for Better or for Worse?

By Kyle Wingfield Butch Miller got in trouble this past week for saying what a lot of Georgians believe. Appearing on a talk radio show, Miller – the Republican leader in the state Senate and a candidate for lieutenant governor – said the following: “We have attracted many people to the state of Georgia that don’t think like us. We need to make sure we are attracting people to Georgia that do think like us. And if they don’t think like us, they need to assimilate into our values and … Continue Reading →

Georgia Public Policy Foundation Friday Facts: October 8, 2021

It’s Friday! Memory Lane A public service that made its debut in 1996 thanks to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was the innovative Report Card on Georgia’s public schools, highlighted here in a 1996 article in the Macon Telegraph. One of the Foundation’s most popular publications, the Report Card, which ranked schools and education spending, was eagerly awaited by real estate agents across the state as they worked with families on home purchases. The Foundation ceased publication after the state Department of Education began publicizing the data. This year, the … Continue Reading →

Friday Facts: October 1, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Wheels of change turn slowly: In 2006, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation published a transportation study: “Reducing Congestion in Atlanta: A Bold New Approach to Increasing Mobility.” “For Atlanta to implement this kind of change would mean a major rethink and rewrite of the current long-range transportation plan,” wrote the study’s author, Bob Poole. One of Poole’s proposals – a long-term concession approach for toll projects – is finally coming to fruition in the I-285 express toll lanes, which will be built and operated by a … Continue Reading →

Pandemic’s New Options Should Include Education

By Kyle Wingfield We know that, when presented with new options, many people will make a change. The pandemic has made that clear, from some people embracing remote work to others seeking entirely new career paths. Why would it be any different with education? It isn’t. The data tell us so. As you’ve no doubt read before, public-school enrollment declined last fall at the sharpest rate in years. Some of that drop comes from parents choosing to keep their children out of kindergarten, which isn’t compulsory in Georgia, if classes … Continue Reading →

Kyle Wingfield’s Remarks at Georgia Policy’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

What follows is an excerpt from President Kyle Wingfield’s remarks at the opening of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Dinner on September 16, 2021. Good evening, and welcome! On behalf of everyone at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, thank you for joining us on this joyous occasion. Many of you here tonight have come alongside us for all or part of these past 30 years, while others of you may be getting your first introduction to our organization. Either way, we’re grateful you braved the weather, a lingering … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: September 24, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane Were you there? Thirty years of Policy Over Politics: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary on September 16 at the Georgia Aquarium with nearly 250 friends and supporters. Watch what some of our dearest friends said about 30 years of Changing Georgia Policy. Quotes of note “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. “ – Oliver Wendell Holmes “Your corn is ripe today; mine will be so tomorrow. ‘Tis profitable for us both, that … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: September 17, 2021

It’s Friday!  We’re celebrating! The Georgia Public Policy Foundation marked 30 years of “Changing Georgia Policy, Changing Georgians’ Lives” with a dinner celebration Thursday night at the Georgia Aquarium. About 250 guests attended the event, which featured The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley, author of a new book on economist Thomas Sowell, as the keynote speaker. Each guest received a copy of Riley’s new book, “Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell.” (Picture from Thursday night goes here.)   Memory Lane Soon after its launch in 1991, the Georgia Public Policy … Continue Reading →

Failure by Institution

By Kyle Wingfield President Joe Biden this past week said federal agencies will begin requiring employers with as few as 100 employees to mandate their workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing. It’s an example of overreach that deserves a court challenge. It is also the latest example of failure by our institutions. As we watch the “delta” variant of this coronavirus take hold and overwhelm our hospitals, so soon after we thought the pandemic was ending thanks to an effective vaccine, it is hard to deny … Continue Reading →

Friday Facts: September 10, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane  Never forget: A sign painted on the hillside campus of Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School along U.S. 23 in Rabun County is one of many across Georgia and around the nation to commemorate the victims and heroes of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which left nearly 3,000 dead. Quotes of note “For me and my family personally, September 11 was a reminder that life is fleeting, impermanent and uncertain. Therefore, we must make use of every moment and nurture it with affection, tenderness, beauty, creativity and … Continue Reading →

Labor Day and the Value of Work

By Kyle Wingfield As we check off another Labor Day, it’s fair to ask if it really is just another Labor Day. The holiday honoring workers stems from the Industrial Revolution, when working conditions in America’s burgeoning assortment of factories, mills and mines came to be intolerable for those who toiled there. America’s elites, it seemed, valued the work more than the workers. Nowadays, it appears to be the other way around. The inherent value of work seems to be in doubt for many of our nation’s elites. The dignity … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: September 03, 2021

It’s Friday! Memory Lane In less than two weeks, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary with a September 16 event at the Georgia Aquarium. In 1996, the Foundation’s founder, Hank McCamish (right) and Georgia Gov. Joe Frank Harris (left) presented the prestigious Freedom Award to Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A. While McCamish died in 2013 and Cathy died in 2014, the seeds these two Georgia leaders planted have grown and continue to flourish in Georgia. Quotes of note “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to … Continue Reading →

Tradition and Touchdowns

By Kyle Wingfield Few things loom as large over the Southern calendar as college football. Weddings are scheduled around it, vacations are planned for it, millions and millions of dollars are spent on it – and that’s just for the bourbon. Although a few schools have begun their seasons, most of our favorite teams will kick off over Labor Day weekend, as the good Lord intended. The sport’s turbulence this summer, however, brings to mind our broader societal tumult. Players began getting paid (above the table) for the use of … Continue Reading →

Friday Facts: August 27, 2021

It’s Friday! Quotes of note “All of us should be on guard against beliefs that flatter ourselves. At the very least, we should check such beliefs against facts.” ― Thomas Sowell  “August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”― Sylvia Plath “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”  ― Winston Churchill On Our Desk Missed Milestones: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield addresses some major … Continue Reading →

Major Problems with Georgia Milestones.

By Kyle Wingfield The scores are in, and they are ugly. I’m talking about the Georgia Milestones exams given last spring, the state’s year-end standardized tests. Georgia students – or at least the ones who took the test; more on that shortly – performed markedly worse than they did the last time the tests were given. For example, the percentage of third-graders reading on grade level is a key statistic. Research indicates third-graders with subpar reading skills are likely to remain behind when they reach high school, and are far … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: August 20, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane One of the founding principles of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is to limit the role of government in the lives of Georgians. Control of tax dollars from the state’s taxpayers not only gives government an unfair advantage when it goes into business, it can also be a disincentive for government to operate as efficiently and cost-effectively as private businesses would. These are some of the reasons the Foundation has promoted privatization and outsourcing of many government operations since its founding in 1991. In less than … Continue Reading →

Examining Policy Responses to the Pandemic

By Kyle Wingfield Covid infections are back on the rise. Georgia’s seven-day moving average of cases as of last Friday was 17 times higher than in late June, when it hit the lowest point since March 2020. Mask mandates have returned to some cities and many school districts. Large companies that had targeted Labor Day for their employees to return to the office have postponed their plans. It is only a matter of time before we hear calls to reinstate at least partial shutdowns of the economy. That would be … Continue Reading →

Private School – More Affordable Than You Think?

By Kyle Wingfield A perennial argument against programs to expand educational options is that students wouldn’t receive enough to pay for private-school tuition. Critics cite tuition figures of $20,000 or more, focusing all of their attention on the very highest-end examples – typically, elite private schools in Atlanta. But not every private school charges “elite” rates of tuition. In fact, the website PrivateSchoolReview.com finds the average tuition for a private school in Georgia in 2021 was $10,584 for elementary schools and $11,677 for high schools. The median tuition price was … Continue Reading →

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Friday Facts: August 13, 2021

It’s Friday!  Memory Lane What a W.A.S.T.E: Soon after it was established in 1991, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation created the W.A.S.T.E. Award, an ignominious recognition of the Tax Day deadline that highlighted the highly irresponsible expenditure of public funds exhibiting “a callous disregard for the labors of honest taxpayers.” It stood for “Wasteful Abuse of State Taxpayer Earnings,” a practice that has only grown. As this May 1994 article in the Foundation’s Georgia Policy Review newsletter shows, the City of Atlanta is no newcomer to wasteful spending of taxpayer … Continue Reading →

For the Eviction Moratorium, Lots of Blame to Go Around

By Kyle Wingfield Government has not covered itself in glory during the pandemic. Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than the eviction moratorium. Lawlessness, disregard for property rights, failure to deliver on government programs – it’s all here. The federal government has imposed several different bans on landlords evicting tenants for failure to pay rent during this pandemic. Congress and both the Trump and Biden administrations have all enacted constitutionally dubious moratoriums. There’s lots of blame to go around. Stick with me as we go through the history: The CARES Act … Continue Reading →