• Friday Facts

Friday Facts: April 15, 2022

It’s Friday! 


Quotes of note

“You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.” – Dr. Who (1977)

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” – Simon Sinek, author

“Ukrainians did not believe in war — we believed in civilized dialogue. But when the attack took place, we did not become a ‘frightened crowd,’ as the enemy had hoped. No. We became an organized community. At once, the political and other controversies that exist in every society disappeared. Everyone came together to protect their home. I see examples every day, and I never get tired of writing about it.” – Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine 


On Our Desks

You’re invited! Join us in Savannah on April 26 and Atlanta on May 11 for a policy briefing luncheon! We’ll present findings from our latest study examining the regulatory factors behind rising home prices. The events are open to the public, but registration is required.

Pursuit of perfection: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield explains how a tax bill helps Georgia take a big step forward.

We’re hiring! Georgia Policy has two open positions: Development Associate and Research Fellow. Each of these roles will help our organization grow – one by helping us raise more money, the other by increasing our capacity to gather and publish information. Both positions are perfect for entry-level candidates, so share them with the liberty-minded recent college graduate, or soon-to-be graduate, in your life. 

Keep Georgia Working: Georgia is growing by leaps and bounds! New residents see what the rest of us already know and love about our state – low taxes, a vibrant business climate and plentiful job opportunities. We want to make sure all new residents know that Georgia works thanks to economic freedom, limited government and personal responsibility. Your gift will help us reach more new Georgia residents!


Economy

Bitcoin miner’s daughter: Since 2020, eight bitcoin mining facilities have opened or expanded across Georgia, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Mining” requires an enormous amount of electricity to power and cool the large installations of computers required. Georgia’s inexpensive land, low taxes and relatively cheap electrical energy combine to make the state attractive to operators. Although they employ few workers and generate a lot of noise, they are welcomed in some parts of the state, particularly by tax-starved rural counties.

Still rising: Inflation hit another multi-decade high in March, the federal government reported Tuesday. The Labor Department’s consumer price index showed prices last month were 8.5% higher than a year earlier, higher than economists had forecast and the sharpest year-over-year increase since December 1981. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was up 6.5%. Separate data showed retail sales, not adjusted for inflation, were up 0.5% in March. Sales at gas stations led the way with an 8.9% jump.


Taxation

Up and up: Georgia’s tax revenue collection is up an astounding 18.9% ahead of a record-setting 2021 with three months left in the fiscal year. Some of the rise in sales taxes can be attributed to rising prices, and the final numbers behind income tax refunds and the results from the gas tax freeze have yet to come in. 


Housing

Not new news: The Federal Reserve Bank has determined that owning a home in Atlanta is unaffordable for the average buyer, reports Fox 5. The Home Ownership Affordability Monitor Index measures the ability of a median-income household to afford the annual costs of owning a home. The Housing and Urban Development standard is approximately 30% of the household’s pre-tax income. The median price for a home in Atlanta is $350,000, and the median income in the city is $73,000. Metro counties Fulton, Gwinnett, Dekalb and Dawson were all designated as “unaffordable.”

Tax troubles: Metro Atlanta’s booming housing market could result in higher property taxes, according to the Atlanta-based 11Alive. Renters could also pay more because higher property taxes could prompt costlier rents due to landlords having to pay more. Local governments have, but don’t always take, the option of lowering their millage rates to offset higher property values. 


Agriculture

Farm freedom: Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law Wednesday afternoon giving Georgia farmers layers of protection against nuisance lawsuits from neighbors. House Bill 1150,known as  the Freedom to Farm bill, limits the ability of landowners who live near farms or agricultural-related processing facilities such as slaughterhouses to sue because of noises, smells or other infringements on their property. Critics say the legislation restricts the legal rights of nearby landowners harmed by agricultural companies, including other farmers. Kemp also signed two other bills intended to boost agriculture: one to expand agriculture education in elementary schools and another to better connect foodbanks with Georgia farmers.

Cock-a-doodle achoo: Avian flu is a threat to one of Georgia’s biggest agricultural products, according to The Georgia Recorder. Although it has not been detected in commercial or domestic flocks of poultry in Georgia so far, it is already a problem in 26 other states. Poultry represents $28 billion of the state’s $75 billion agriculture industry, and Georgia is the nation’s largest producer of poultry. The state Department of Agriculture has planned  for a bad avian flu season since the last major outbreak in 2015, when 50 million birds were culled.


Have a great weekend. 

Kyle Wingfield

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