Friday Facts: December 16th, 2011

It’s Friday!

– This year, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrated 20 years of policy over politics in Georgia. As we move into 2012, we appreciate the crucial contributions of our members and supporters in our successes of 2011. There’s still an opportunity to demonstrate your support for smaller government: Lower your tax bill! Your end-of-year contribution to the Foundation is tax-deductible. The Foundation is chartered under federal law as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donate by the end of the year: Go to
– Stocking stuffer ideas: Please your liberty-minded friends at Christmas and help the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The Foundation has been promised the proceeds from a book co-authored by Georgia Congressman Tom Price, “Saving the American Miracle: The Destruction and Restoration of American Values.” Price proposes getting America off the dependency track, including changing the tax system, or “dependent voters will outnumber taxpaying voters, and then it will be too late to vote at all.” Outreach to those under age 30, the patriotic “Millennials,” is critical, he notes. Read more at the book to benefit the Foundation at

 January 25, 2012: Mark your calendar for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s first Leadership Breakfast of 2012, from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Celebrating National School Choice Day, “Breaking Down Barriers to High Quality Education in Georgia” is a panel discussion featuring Lisa Kelly, president of the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program; Dean Alford, president and chief executive officer of Allied Energy Services, and Lisa Gillis, president of Integrated Educational Strategies. The event will cost $25 to attend. Details to follow.


Quotes of note
– “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, or to the people [10th amendment.].’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” – Thomas Jefferson (Letter to George Washington, 1791)
– “Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one’s government is not necessarily to secure freedom.” – F.A. Hayek


– Say farewell to congestion relief: Three private companies were looking at providing crucial financing for congestion relief in the form of a High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane project along the 200,000-vehicle-a-day I-75/575 corridor in northwest Atlanta. Now the state Department of Transportation has pulled the plug on the project, the latest blow in a series of disappointments to private companies that have invested time, money and planning since 2005 to make public-private partnerships in Georgia transportation a success. The Foundation’s Benita Dodd warned in October that state officials need to embrace HOT lanes for congestion relief and funding. Don’t be surprised if private funders don’t come looking for a home in Georgia’s transportation projects any time soon.
– What happens in Vegas … isn’t successful rail: 
On December 1, Las Vegas’ Monorail celebrated its 50 millionth rider since opening in 2004. But last month, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge rejected the monorail company’s plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company had agreed with bondholders to repay them roughly $44 million of the $659 that they originally invested in its construction. But the judge said projected income fell short of meeting these obligations and that, even if the company has higher income than expected, it will have to spend millions of dollars in the coming years on maintenance for its aging equipment. The 3.9-mile driverless transportation system winds its way behind casinos on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip to the convention center, making seven stops on the 15-minute trip. Source: Bloomberg, Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Review
– Know when to fold ’em: 
Officials in Detroit, where more than 60 percent of residents with jobs work in the suburbs, have rejected an ambitious light rail project and decided the city would be better served by high-speed buses instead of rail, according to the Detroit Free Press. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Detroit Mayor Dave Bing that doubts that Detroit could pay operating costs over the long term for the light-rail line because of the city’s and the state’s financial problems swayed him against the plan. The decision came despite earlier public support that included LaHood’s 2010 visit to Detroit to award a $25 million grant to get the project moving. Source: Mass Transit

This week in the Forum
– Editor Mike Klein reported Georgia is ranked 48th nationally in personal health care spending. We reported that less time served and more treatment is possible for low-risk drug abusers as the state begins to craft corrections reform legislation. Georgia’s monthly unemployment rate posted its biggest decline in 34 years. Foundation intern Robert Helin wrote about transportation lessons Georgia could learn from Portland’s foray into expensive light rail. Read these articles and more at

Energy and environment
– Dark picture for solar energy? 
German experts were at Georgia’s State Capitol during the session this year to encourage the state to follow in Germany’s footsteps with more renewable energy. Reuters reported this week that with cuts in subsidies for solar energy, weaker demand for panels and fierce competition from cheaper Asian rivals eroding what was once the world’s biggest hub for the production of solar cells, the shine is off the industry in Germany. Fortunately, Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols recently rejected a proposal for solar energy subsidies in Georgia. The Foundation’s Benita Dodd warned against going down Germany’s renewable energy path in a commentary earlier this year.

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Improving Visibility Increasingly Clouded in Hyperbole,” by Harold Brown.


Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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