Friday Facts: August 4, 2023

Top 10 lists come and go, mostly in unmemorable fashion. But a list that gets its subject matter exactly backward makes me stop and wonder what’s going on.

The cable business-news network CNBC annually compiles a list of the “top states for business.” Its overall figures shouldn’t raise many eyebrows. Georgia ranked an impressive fourth overall – lower than in other rankings, but nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, CNBC’s list has many of the usual suspects toward the top: North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee beat us out, while Texas and Florida also made the top 10. The best non-Southern states, per the rankings, were Minnesota, Washington, Utah and Michigan. 

But one category was intended to gauge whether people might actually want to live in a place. It represents, per CNBC, the “best places to live and work.” The implication is that people must want to live in a certain place in order to be available to work for talent-hungry companies. Yet it’s not what actual data of where people are moving tells us

Please check out this week’s commentary on why these rankings missed the mark with a look at the states people are moving to. We also have:

– The latest news and analysis from the past week

Testimony from the Foundation’s Chris Denson at a Certificate of Need reform hearing

– New Bonus section with additional content that caught our eye

Our new job openings at the Foundation

Tickets to our upcoming luncheon with Michael Continetti

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Get your tickets

Join us on September 12 as we kick off the Georgia Freedom Series with Matthew Continetti, author of “The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism.” The lunch will be held at Park 82 in Atlanta, beginning at 11:30. Get your tickets now and stay tuned as we announce our special event in October next week.


Friday’s Freshest

Replacing the fuel tax with a mileage-based user fee?

For decades, Georgia has paid for its roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure with a fuel tax. But the evolution of the auto industry, along with some research-backed political momentum could soon change that. The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to launch a pilot program that will test mileage-based user fees: taxes that charge by miles driven instead of fuel used. 

Georgians brace for higher property taxes 

Many Georgians will pay higher property taxes unless local governments adopt the “rollback rates” that keep taxes the same from the prior year. Here is a look at what cities, counties and schools across the state are going to do.

Eminent domain case pits farmers vs. railroad in rural Georgia community

In Sparta, Georgia, a family is fighting the Sandersville Railroad Company’s attempt to construct a 4.5-mile-long rail spur that crosses through land that has been in their family for nearly a century. 

We must avoid the drift toward the European way

While many in America seemingly clamor for a European-style economy, we can easily look at the European economy of today and see why it would be disastrous.

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The Latest


Rural Georgia benefiting from economic development initiatives

Rural Georgia has benefited disproportionately from a wave of unprecedented economic development across the state during the last four years, with more than three-quarters of projects going outside metro Atlanta. But with this progress comes a downside: There aren’t enough workers.

Hyundai hiring challenges local labor market

By the time the Hyundai electric vehicle manufacturing plant is running at full capacity in 2031, Savannah-area employers estimate growing their workforces by 17,500 workers. To put the number of additional workers in perspective, think about the number of people attending two sold-out concerts at Enmarket Arena. Or the current population of Richmond Hill.

Vogtle Unit 3 goes into operation

A new reactor at a nuclear power plant in Georgia has entered commercial operation. Georgia Power Co. announced Monday that Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle, southeast of Augusta, has completed testing and is now sending power to the grid reliably. It’s the first new American reactor built from scratch in decades.


Metro schools work to fill hundreds of teacher vacancies as school begins

As students head back to school, many metro area districts are still looking for teachers. Right now the Clayton County School District has the most openings with 291 teacher vacancies. Gwinnett County has 195, Cobb County has 17 and Atlanta has seven openings. 

Georgia students’ test scores remain below pre-pandemic levels

While Georgia public school students’ Georgia Milestones scores are improving, state officials said results have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. According to officials, results improved or remained steady in 13 of 21 assessments. They noted that most gains happened among elementary and middle school students in English and math. 

White House takes second swing at debt forgiveness plan

A new initiative will forgive monthly payments for low-income borrowers, and other eligible applicants will be able to have at least $1,000 per year on payments forgiven as the Biden administration takes a second shot at a student debt forgiveness plan.

Government accountability

Atlanta mayor wants $4 million for homeless ‘quick-delivery housing’

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens plans to use $4 million to develop “quick-delivery housing” for homeless people in the city. The “Rapid Housing” initiative plans to repurpose shipping containers that the Georgia Emergency Management Agency used as temporary hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hall County tax initiative scrapped after Buford, Rest Haven fail to sign agreement

The Hall Board of Commissioners was forced to scrap a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) initiative after negotiations with Buford and Rest Haven broke down. In April, local officials began the process of detailing a potential TSPLOST initiative they hoped would be added to the ballot during this next voting cycle. 

Statesboro City Council votes 2-1 to raise members’ pay, effective Jan. 2

In a 2-1 vote, with just three of five members present, Statesboro City Council members will receive a pay raise in January that will be the first for council members in 18 years. The salary for regular district council members will rise from $7,575 a year to $11,000, and the salary for mayor pro tem will increase from $9,342 to $13,500. 


This government regulation is killing rural healthcare

Rural America has a healthcare crisis. Nearly 200 small-town hospitals have closed or contracted since 2005, and dozens more are teetering on the edge of collapse. Regulators can help. But when states consider meaningful reforms, industry insiders push back.

Attorney General signs off on Wellstar, Augusta University partnership

The Georgia Attorney General’s office has approved a planned partnership between the Wellstar and Augusta University health systems, as first announced late last year. A Report of Findings released Thursday evening gave the plan regulatory approval to move forward, as is required by a state law that governs hospital acquisitions.

New healthcare clinic opened in west Atlanta

There is now a healthcare facility in west Atlanta. Grady Health Care Systems is opening a new outpatient center on Cascade Road. This spot was specifically chosen because it’s a historically underserved area for healthcare in the metro area.


Gov. Kemp speaks at Atlanta Rotary

Gov.  Brian Kemp was warmly received by an overflow crowd on July 31 at the Rotary Club of Atlanta meeting. Kemp gave an overview of his administration’s successes, singling out Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera and Georgia State University President Brian Blake for helping educate the state’s future workforce. 

Jeff Cown to head state Environmental Protection Division

The head of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Historic Sites Division will become director of the DNR’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) later this month. The state Board of Natural Resources voted unanimously Wednesday to approve Gov. Brian Kemp’s nomination of Jeff Cown to head the EPD. Cown will assume the post on August 16.

Your bacon may get more expensive. Blame California.

Wholesale prices for pork belly—the cut of meat used to make bacon—have surged this summer, nearly tripling since the start of June. Helping drive the price surge is an animal-welfare law in California requiring pigs to be given at least 24 square feet of pen space for their meat to be sold in the state, which accounts for roughly 15% of U.S. pork consumption. 

Quotes of the Week

“When your outgo exceeds your income, the upshot may be your downfall.” – Paul Harvey

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz

“Let me decide what I am offended by and what I’m not offended by. I would be against reading any book from any era that says ‘abridged due to modern sensitivities.’” – Tom Hanks

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