Quotes of note
“My most prized possession was my library card from the Oakland Public Library.” -Bill Russell 1934-2022
“Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going.” –Nichelle Nichols 1932-2022
“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.” –Mark Twain
On Our Desks
Accessing the Access model: This week, Chris Denson was quoted in an Atlanta Journal Constitution article about Georgia’s 1332 State Innovation Waiver. Denson dives deeper into the nuances of the policy on the blog.
Further reading: The Center for the American Experiment released an in-depth report on the Biden administration’s invalid demand for a corrective action plan from Georgia.
Don’t-call-it-a-recession: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield points out that, recession or not, it’s important to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes.
Learning pod protection? Last week, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s investigative journalist broke the story of two Cobb County learning pods that were ordered to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy to meet in a local church. The Institute for Justice cited our work on the Learning Pods Protection Act as it called on the Cobb County fire marshal to stop his misguided crackdown on education freedom.
Regulation roundup: Do additional county regulations drive up the price of homes? Yes, say Oconee County home builders in Christopher Butler’s latest investigative report.
Holding on: Even amid four-decade-high inflation and fears of a recession, the Atlanta job market remains resilient, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Nonfarm employment in Atlanta grew by 6.1% from May 2021 to May 2022, and average wages in Atlanta rose 6.6% from February 2020 to February 2021. Across the state, between May 2021 and May 2022, Athens/Clarke County had the highest job growth at 6.5%, followed by Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Roswell at 6.1%, Savannah at 5.4%, Macon/Bibb County at 4.7% and Brunswick at 4.1%.
Rising assessments: The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted 4-1 to keep its property tax rate the same at 6.95 mills. The vote passed over the objections of District 1 Commissioner Kirkland Carden, who said he spoke for constituents in asking the general fund tax rate to be rolled back to 6.088 mills this year, the rate estimated to keep revenue neutral in the face of rising assessments.
Housing & Development
Investing: The Commercial Property Improvement Grant program is now available to Atlanta businesses. It will award up to $50,000 in grants (from a total of $3.5 million) to small business owners seeking physical enhancements to their business. The initiative, announced Tuesday by Mayor Andre Dickens’ office, is administered through United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm. The grant will fund improvements including but not limited to painting, lighting, windows, doors, signage, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC, water heating systems, plumbing, electrical, and other repairs.
Back to school shopping: Governor Brian Kemp announced a plan to give a $125 supplement to all public school teachers for school supplies to address the pandemic learning loss gap, reports the Center Square. The money will be available from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and includes both teachers and some staff members who work on a daily basis to provide supportive services to students. Although the total cost is not yet available, it could exceed $14 million.
Rural care: A “rural residency” designation and funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helped launch a new residency program at Colquitt Regional Medical Center which is helping to provide medical access to underserved rural Georgians, reports Georgia Public Broadcasting. One advantage for newly-minted MD’s in a rural residency is more hands-on practice than they would get in a more competitive academic setting. Some state programs offer financial incentives like reimbursement of medical school tuition in exchange for working for a few years after graduation in an underserved rural community.
Energy & Environment
Nuclear news: The Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion got good news this week, gaining a key approval that will allow one of its two new reactors to begin operations by early next year. According to a Georgia Power press release, once operating, the two new units at Plant Vogtle are expected to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses while producing zero air pollution.
Nuclear news 2: A new study by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity argues regulations are holding back nuclear power in the United States, limiting capacity for the “abundant, reliable and affordable energy” upon which American prosperity depends. “Nuclear power is the only low-carbon source of electricity that has the density and scale to meet American electricity demand,” according to the study. “Unfortunately, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission—established in 1974—has effectively shut down the growth of nuclear power in the United States.” The only new nuclear reactors approved by the NRC since 1978 are Georgia’s Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, scheduled to come online next year.
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our website at georgiapolicy.org.