Friday’s Freshest: A new international report says Georgia is one of the freest places to live in North America. Sounds great but what does that mean?
The Fraser Institute annually reviews the extent to which public policies support “the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere free of undue restrictions.” For example, how difficult does the government make it for entrepreneurs to start a career or how expensive and burdensome do they make it to launch a business? The higher the burden, the less economic freedom. The data reveals a positive correlation between economic freedom and well-being and a positive relationship between the growth of economic freedom and the growth of a jurisdiction’s economy.
Also worth noting: The states in the top quartile generally had increased population numbers, as they experienced greater economic growth. States on the bottom end, however, experienced a shrinking population due to shrinking opportunities. To continue to grow, Georgia must continue on the path of sound, market-based economic decisions.
Quotes of Note
“If passion drives, let reason hold the reins.” – Benjamin Franklin
“If there is any lesson in the history of ideas, it is that good intentions tell you nothing about the actual consequences.” – Thomas Sowell
“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” – George Bernard Shaw
On Our Desk
Georgia Pathways: MedPage Today quoted Chris Denson about the state finally moving forward with the Georgia Pathways Medicaid Waiver despite the Biden Administration’s efforts to delay implementation. This program will offer a path to health coverage for low-income Georgians in a better way than traditional Medicaid.
Empowering students, parents, and teachers: Georgia’s education system should be geared toward student achievement and the best education for each student’s diverse needs. This means empowering students, parents, and teachers. J.Thomas Perdue outlines six things Georgia lawmakers can do to ensure every child has access to a high quality education.
We’ve got issues: The Foundation’s 2022 Guide to the Issues is here! You can read J.Thomas Perdue’s commentary on the purpose and contents of this year’s edition here. Guide to the Issues is our biennial resource that outlines our positions and policy recommendations on pertinent topics. Access this year’s Guide here!
Wrong metric: Kyle Wingfield recently looked at the issue of income inequality and whether we are correctly measuring the issue. Specifically, the data supplied by the government ignores federal transfer payments, which now average over $45,000 for families in the bottom 20% of American earners and tax credits received. Finally, tax payments are not subtracted from income. Income inequality is always a hot political topic. We should make sure our data is correct.
Save the date: The setting for the Foundation’s annual Georgia Freedom Dinner has been announced and registration is now open. The dinner will take place on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Table sponsorships are available. Please contact us here for more information.
Unemployment: Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced that Georgia’s October unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, eight-tenths of a percent lower than the national October 2022 unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. In a press release, Department of Labor officials said Georgia’s October rate was half a percent lower than last year’s October rate. Additionally, job numbers reached another all-time high, increasing by 3,700 from September. Job numbers increased 3,700 from September to October to an all-time high of 4,808,800.
Becker Robotic Equipment: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced in a press release that Becker Robotic Equipment will build a new manufacturing facility to house its North American headquarters in Canton. The global cable and robotic machinery manufacturer specializes in individualized robotic equipment. The new facility will deliver more than $30 million in investment and create 137 new jobs in Cherokee County. Becker’s new North American headquarters and manufacturing facility will be located at The Bluffs at Technology Park.
Charter growth: More Georgia students are attending charter schools, while enrollment at public schools is declining, according to a new report. New figures from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools show that Georgia experienced a roughly 4.9% increase in charter enrollments between 2019-20 and 2021-22. Meanwhile, traditional public schools saw a roughly 1.9% decline in enrollments during the same period.
Macon-Bibb County: The Macon-Bibb County Hospital Authority is planning to hold its hat out to local taxpayers in hopes the County Commission will agree to share a portion of the tax money it collects to help pay Atrium Health Navicent for indigent care. As reported by the Macon-based WMAZ, authority members discussed their plans to approach the county at its regular virtual meeting. Indigent care is provided to patients who cannot afford it, are underinsured or do not qualify for Medicaid. Hospital authorities in Georgia were created by a state law that gives them powers that include buying and selling land, exercising eminent domain, executing contracts for hospital management, borrowing money and more.
Nurse practitioners: A local story in Arkansas shined a light on how nurse practitioners will now be able to play a large role in expanding health care access in the Natural State after the legislature approved full practice authority for NPs. A majority of states, 26, now allow nurse practitioners to work independently. Georgia still does not. The Foundation released a study in September outlining the benefits of full practice authority in addressing Georgia’s persistent healthcare disparities. Read the Foundation’s full study here.
License to Work: Institute for Justice released their third installment of License to Work, the most comprehensive look into occupational licensing regulations in the country. Of the 102 low-income occupations reviewed that do not require a college diploma, Georgia licensed 41 of them. Georgia had the 12th highest burden in the country, an increase of three spots since the last report, but did better in its overall ranking (which combines number of licenses and average burden) at 35.