Friday Facts: August 25, 2023

Everyone knows housing prices are out of reach for many Georgia families, but there are few agreed-upon solutions. 

Two years ago, the Foundation began exploring the causes of the rapid increase in housing prices. Our first study found that regulations imposed by government at all levels account for more than a quarter of the final price of a new single-family home built in Georgia, worse than the national average. We then issued reports on the cost of impact fees and how these fees affect local communities, as well as the cost of regulations on multifamily housing

To help dive deeper into the cost of housing, we are exploring new approaches to harness innovation and entrepreneurship, and ensure housing is attainable for all Georgians. And we will do this at the 2023 Georgia Housing Summit on October 12 at City Winery in Atlanta. 

The conversations will include:

Where are we and how did we get there? Our experts explain the numbers and trends behind Georgia’s soaring housing costs. 

Policy Innovation: State and local officials examine the issues and discuss the current challenges and opportunities. 

Neighborly Innovation: Panelists from the AEI Housing Center and PadSplit offer ideas on how we can create more housing without disrupting the neighborhoods we know and love. 

Lending Innovation: Panelists from financial institutions discuss how markets can provide more capital for both single-family and multifamily housing development.

Building Innovation: Panelists from the home building industry explore how new materials and methods can expand our housing stock.

We are excited for the panels, and the perspective and expertise each will provide. We hope you will join us. And by getting your tickets early, you will save 25% with our early-bird discount. 

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

As president embraces “Bidenomics,” Americans still feeling the pinch

We’ve started to see people highlighting what they believe – or what they want you to believe – is a contradiction: Inflation is easing, so why don’t more people feel better about the economy?

No other tax has a basis that someone else simply invents

Everyone knows what they paid for their home. But when property assessments arrive in the mail each year, most people genuinely have no idea what they’ll find when they open the envelope. That element of surprise reflects an inherent problem with the property tax.

More Georgia’s cities and counties set property tax rates; did yours go up? 

What is happening with millage rates and property taxes in your local community? This is our latest update on the most recent discussions and decisions on local millage rates. 

Janitors, email scams and interest-free loans took Georgia taxpayers to the cleaners

The Colquitt County Board of Education misspent more than $265,000 of COVID-19 relief money, according to a new audit. That story and more.

The Latest


Fuel loading starts at Plant Vogtle Unit 4

The start of fuel loading at Unit 4 marks a major milestone toward getting it into commercial service late this year or early in 2024. It comes after the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified that the new reactor has been constructed and will operate in compliance with regulations. The first of the new reactors – Unit 3 – began commercial operations late last month.

How hard should the Fed squeeze to reach 2% inflation?

Amidst the most aggressive series of interest rate increases in four decades, inflation has fallen to 3.2% from 9.1%. The strategy the central bank adopts to fight the last mile of inflation has big, potentially painful implications for consumers, the markets and the economy.

Marietta punts on renewing tax-sharing agreement with Galleria authority

For decades, the city of Marietta has sent nearly a fifth of the revenue it collects from its 8% hotel-motel tax to support the Cobb Galleria and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. Those days could eventually end, however, as city officials question how much Marietta benefits from subsidizing Cumberland’s tourism facilities.

Updated economic impact of new Augusta arena suggests fewer visitors and jobs

The new estimate assumes about 14,000 fewer annual visitors and visit days, along with fewer full time jobs, but a slightly increased 30-year spending impact. Funding for the $250 million bond to build the arena will be voted on this fall by Richmond County residents. 


Morris Brown reinstates various COVID policies

Morris Brown College recently announced a battery of COVID-19 mitigation policies for the next two weeks, “due to reports of positive cases.” These mandates include a broad mask mandate, physical distancing, a ban on on-campus parties and large gatherings, and “temperature checks” when students arrive on campus.

Bibb Schools targets truancy in aim to improve academics

More than a quarter of Bibb Schools students were chronically absent last school year. The more days Bibb Schools students are present in class, the better they perform on tests, and the higher the number of days students miss, the less likely they are to perform well.

Biden rolls out latest student loan forgiveness plan

President Biden’s administration is officially rolling out its SAVE plan, its latest attempt to grant student debt relief after Biden’s more wide-reaching plan failed before the Supreme Court. Under the SAVE plan, borrowers making roughly $15 an hour will not have to make any payments, while others earning above that amount will save at least $1,000 a year.

The rising trend in private education: teeny, tiny schools

Families reacting to an influx of voucher funds and post pandemic woes are increasingly choosing so-called microschools that popped up in larger numbers during pandemic-related school closures. 

Government accountability

State Senate to tackle growth of artificial intelligence

The Georgia Senate is working to come to grips with the ramifications of the growth in artificial intelligence (AI) technology for public policy. Two Senate committees announced plans to hold a joint hearing on AI this fall. The Public Safety and Science and Technology committees will take up the issue at the state Capitol on Nov. 1.

Judge removed from bench after Supreme Court ruling

The Georgia Supreme Court said that Christian Coomer, a Georgia Court of Appeals judge, should be removed from the bench. Coomer was accused of flouting ethics rules governing how a lawyer should treat a client and of looting his campaign account to pay for a family vacation and loans to keep his struggling law firm afloat. 


Cobb County outlines transit tax proposals 

Just over a year out from a planned sales tax referendum on transit expansion in Cobb, potential options for the tax are coming into focus, with an estimated $4.5 billion tax and a more limited $3.4 billion tax on the table.

State Transportation Board elects new leaders

The State Transportation Board of Georgia elected its new executive leadership team at its monthly board meeting. Robert Brown was named chairman; Ann R. Purcell was named vice chairman; and Jamie Boswell was named secretary.


The return of country protest songs

It’s not a shock to find this particular moment producing protest songs. It just offends some journalists that a few of those songs are coming from singers with a different message and twangy guitars like Oliver Anthony or Jason Aldean.

Peanut Commission announces annual photo competition

The Georgia Peanut Commission is hosting a photo contest through Oct. 1, featuring peanut farms from across the state to fill the pages of the 2024 Georgia Peanut Calendar. Photos will also be selected for use in various promotional projects by GPC throughout the year. 

State Department of Natural Resources veteran promoted to commissioner

The state Board of Natural Resources voted to promote Walter Rabon to the top post. Rabon has been serving as interim commissioner since the beginning of July, when Mark Williams left the DNR to become executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority.

Quotes of the Week

“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” – John Locke

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” – C.S. Lewis

“Those that are the most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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