Quotes of Note
“My primary objection to the amendment was a concern that for-profit charter school management companies that had showered campaign dollars on our state’s politicians would get an unfair competitive advantage and elbow everybody else out of the game. To date, that has not happened. Less than half of the schools currently under the commission’s supervision use a management company at all, and of those that do, many use nonprofit organizations for assistance.” – Dick Yarbrough
“The art of principled compromise entails giving up a lesser value to achieve a greater value.” – Richard Grant
“Yes, we do need more investment in America’s highway system. But simply pumping more dollars into a flawed system will not generate the greatest bang for the buck. Only a system that changes the perverse incentives of America’s traditional system for highway building will do that.” – Bob Poole
You know that we’ve been nice: As year’s end approaches and you finalize your giving list, please remember the Foundation has been very nice this year and deserves a gift for battling naughty ideas! You can support the Foundation every time you shop at Amazon. Choose Georgia Public Policy Foundation at http://smile.amazon.com/! You can make a one-time donation or contribute monthly here.
Georgia currently has the 23rd highest gasoline tax in the nation. Unfortunately, less than 60 percent of those funds are dedicated to transportation, leaving us near the bottom in the nation in transportation investment. Before we talk about tax increases, we need to ensure our gas taxes are going where they are supposed to go.
Our plan increases annual funding by redirecting all gas tax revenues (+$720 million), public private partnerships (+$253 million), tolls on new capacity in the most congested areas (+$96 million), eliminating gas tax exemptions for state vehicles and charging electric cars an annual fee. Rewriting the TSPLOST statute allowing for a fractional sales tax (less than 1 percent) and allowing just 2 or more counties to partner together could target more than $600 million a year in new transportation investment in the metro Atlanta area where it is most needed without taxing the rest of the state. Our plan allocates over $400 million a year to transit and projects that support transit, such as managed lanes.
Shifting to an excise tax should also bring in more revenue, according to the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. Eventually we will need to replace increasingly inefficient gas taxes as user fees. Oregon provides good options to study.
Medicaid recipients had a hard time getting access to doctors before Medicaid expansion, as detailed by a new federal study. Imagine what happens when you flood the system with new patients without increasing the number of doctors?! We imagined it and didn’t think it looked too good, but we also have a better idea for the uninsured and for existing Medicaid patients.
Energy and environment
President Obama announced an epic climate deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping a few weeks ago. It turns out skepticism about the deal was warranted. This week it was announced Chinese negotiators have “rejected the scrutiny of (plans) to limit carbon emissions.” The Chinese refuse to agree to measurable and enforceable carbon reduction targets. As Investor’s Business Daily put it, “So much for the Reagan maxim of ‘trust but verify.’”
This month in the archives: On December 2, 1996, the Foundation published, “From Entitlement to Empowerment: Welfare Reform in Georgia, Part I. In it, Amy Bilskie noted: “Georgians are a caring and compassionate people who are willing to assist welfare recipients build and maintain strong families and communities. But they also expect welfare recipients to work in exchange for benefits, be held accountable for their own actions and those of their children, and strive their utmost to help themselves. These are values that will serve welfare recipients well as they assume more productive, self-sufficient lives, and will especially benefit their children.” We still believe in the dignity of work, a requirement that is sadly lacking in far too many of our entitlement programs.
January 21: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s first event of 2015 is, “School Choice: The Next Frontier.” The 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast at the Georgian Club celebrates National School Choice Week. The keynote speaker is Dr. Ben Scafidi, Foundation Senior Fellow and the new director of Kennesaw State University’s Education Economics Center. $30. Sign up at http://bit.ly/1yeTHbm.
Web site of the week: The Clayton Christensen Institute is a think tank dedicated to improving the world through disruptive innovation, focusing primarily on education and health care. It’s a great source for information on blended learning.
Foundation in the media: This week the Atlanta Business Chronicle published a commentary by Foundation Senior Fellow Jim Kelly on the need to increase the annual cap on giving to the tuition tax credit scholarship.
Social media: Have you “liked” the Foundation’s Facebook page yet? Join the 2,400 people who “like” us; these supporters get the Foundation’s daily updates on news and policy views as well as event alerts. Join our 1,300-plus followers on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gppf!
The Forum: In her, “Checking Up On Health,” Benita Dodd reports on child vaccinations and good news on hospital infection rates. Read this and other recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “Keep Crony Capitalism Out of Georgia’s School Choice Movement,” by Jim Kelly and Ben Scafidi.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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