Friday Facts: April 8th, 2011

It’s Friday!

As the first half of Georgia’s two-year legislative session reaches its climax with tax reform hanging in the balance, you are invited to attend “Grading Georgia’s Tax Reform Plan,” a Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon at noon on Tuesday, April 12, in the Empire Room of the Sloppy Floyd Building in Atlanta. Featured speakers are Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC) and Kail Padgitt of the Tax Foundation. Legislators who register attend free, all others pay $35. To find out more and register, go to
– The deadline is Friday, April 15
, to register for the Foundation’s April 19 noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. “Getting the Funding You Want for the Transportation You Need” is keynoted by Samuel Staley, Ph.D., director of urban growth and land use policy at the Reason Foundation. The cost to attend this event is $35. To find out more and register, go to

If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” – Chinese proverb

– The right choice: Upholding Arizona’s K-12 scholarship tax credit program, the Supreme Court ruled this week that “tax credits and governmental expenditures do not both implicate individual taxpayers in sectarian activities. A dissenter whose tax dollars are “extracted and spent” knows that he has in some small measure been made to contribute to an establishment in violation of conscience. … [By contrast,] awarding some citizens a tax credit allows other citizens to retain control over their own funds in accordance with their own consciences.”

Taxes and spending
– Are federal workers underpaid? 
Not according to congressional testimony by Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute. Biggs concludes that “when salary, benefits and job security are properly valued, the total federal compensation package is worth upwards of 39 percent more than is paid to similar private sector workers.” This total federal pay premium, he calculates, approaches $60 billion per year. Makes one yearn for the federalism of yore.

Energy and the environment
– Worth the paper it’s printed on
: “Notice: It’s OK to print this email. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of Americans. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest management, we have more trees in America today than we had 100 years ago.” (Tag line on emails from Chuck Leavell, musician and Georgia tree farmer, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.)
– Waste and time: Georgia Public Service Commission member Tim Echols proposes in an op-ed in the Savannah Morning News that, “It’s time to demand that our government turn nuclear waste management over to the private sector. … The government had its turn. Let’s allow utilities, technology companies and consumers to manage used nuclear fuel.” Read more at
– Say watt: 
Share your opinion with Congress on the implementation of a national “clean energy standard.” Have your say by Monday, April 11 at the Web site for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

Notable events
– The third annual Georgia Logistics Summit takes place May 9 and 10 at the Cobb Galleria Center, hosted by the Center of Innovation for Logistics. The event hosted 950 participants from 12 states in 2010, 85 percent from private industry. This year’s theme, “Thriving in a Changing Ecosystem,” focuses on business opportunities in agribusiness, air freight, energy, life-sciences, manufacturing and ocean freightFind out more at

Government reform
– Discussing the ramifications of privatization for local and state governments in The New York Times of April 3, the Reason Foundation’s Leonard Gilroy reinforces the two critical ingredients to successful government contracting. “First, public managers should think carefully about the service quality standards they want to achieve, and then develop strong, performance-based contracts that hold contractors accountable for meeting them. Measurable performance standards should be built into contracts, along with incentives for exceeding standards and penalties for underperformance. Second, once a performance-based contract is in place, government managers must monitor andenforce the terms of the contract to ensure that contractors perform.”

– Lessons from the Left Coast: 
Did you know that Georgia is one of 90 applicants seeking some of the $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds that became available after Florida’s governor returned the award to the federal government? The proposed projects total more than $10 billion. Before the 2008 election, the cost of California’s high-speed rail project was estimated at $33 billion for the Los Angeles/Anaheim to San Francisco portion, and another $7 billion for the spurs to San Diego and Sacramento, Adam Summers of the Reason Foundation notes. “Voters narrowly passed a $9.95 billion bond in 2008, and the federal government and private investors were supposed to cover the remaining $30 billion. After the election, costs rose to $43 billion for just the Los Angeles-San Francisco phase.” Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

– Today is the deadline to apply to attend Mises University. Find out more from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, based in Auburn, Ala., at ■ The National Taxpayers Union and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation offer internships in a variety of fields for college students and recent graduates to learn more about limited government and free-market principles. Internships are granted on a rolling basis and may take place during any time of the year. Participants may receive academic credit or a stipend. Apply at NTU/NTUF Internship Program application. ■ Work from anywhere as an unpaid intern researcher for Intellectual Takeout, an educational institution based in Minnesota, and help build content and library topics in its online library. Be prepared to make a three-month commitment. To find out more, go to■ Acquire the skills you can use to advance the ideals of liberty in film with a summer 2011 internship in the Moving Pictures Institute. Apply for the MPI Internship Program, designed to foster talented young people who want to break into the film industry by providing them with the resources to jump-start their careers.

– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Simplifying Taxes, a Complicated Matter,” by Kelly McCutchen.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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