It’s been a great 2016 and a game-changing 25 years for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Thank you for your moral and financial support, your input and your friendship. We wish you a 2017 filled with health, prosperity and happiness … and limited government!
January 26, 2017: Typically the Foundation’s first event of the year, the National School Choice Week Leadership Breakfast is keynoted by education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi. The topic is, “National School Week: Where’s The Money?” Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Information and registration here.
February 22, 2017: Mark your calendar! Join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Institute for Justice for a Leadership Breakfast and Book Forum with Dick Carpenter, co-author of, “Bottleneckers: Gaming the Government for Power and Private Profit.” Cobb County’s Georgian
Club, 8 a.m. $30. Details to follow.
Quotes of Note
“The lack of procedural protection coupled with financial incentives has turned policing for profit into a slush fund for governments hungry for cash, and the payouts too often come at the expense of civil liberties.” – Wall Street Journal
“You cannot live a long life without having been forced to change your mind many times about people and things – including in some cases, your whole view of the world. Those who glorify the young today do them a great disservice, when this sends inexperienced young people out into the world cocksure about things on which they have barely scratched the surface.” – Thomas Sowell
“The former leftist playwright David Mamet, in his 2008 manifesto, ‘Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal,’ cited his exposure to Sowell, whom he dubbed ‘our greatest contemporary philosopher,’ as a critical factor in his conversion. Whether tackling the ‘bait and switch media,’ the ‘organized noisemakers,’ or the ‘lawless enablers of social disintegration,’ Thomas Sowell’s dozens of academic books and thousands of newspaper columns have sparked generations of his readers across the political spectrum to think independently and challenge imposed visions.” – Michelle Malkin, “Thank You, Professor Sowell”
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, the poverty rate in Georgia was 18.1 percent, according to the Census Bureau. In 2015 (latest data), the poverty was 17.2 percent. During the same period, the population increased from 4.8 million to 10.2 million. When the needle barely moves, there’s a clear need to rethink policy. Read our Guide to the Issues chapter on Welfare Reform and Occupational Licensing.
Top 10 for 2016: We checked our analytics and compiled a list of the Foundation’s top 10 commentaries of 2016. (Hint: opportunity and health care dominate.) Read them here.
Top 5 for 2017: Five things we hope will be transformational for Georgia in 2017 are education choice, occupational licensing reforms, direct primary care, express toll lanes and autonomous/connected vehicles.
The issues: Georgia’s two-year legislative session begins January 9. Be prepared! Read the Foundation’s policy proposals in our Guide to the Issues, focusing on welfare reform, education, transportation, health care, taxes, criminal justice and more.
Energy and environment
Land grab: President Obama’s surge in executive orders continues on the way out. This week he declared two national monuments: the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the 350,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada. Both sites are owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management; the move will ban development and other activities on them. Said one Utah rancher with grazing allotments within the monument: “I don’t know why anybody would want to lock up all the resources in this country so that we can’t use them, and that’s what they’re doing.”
Waters of the United States: Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has joined 24 states in a letter asking the incoming Trump administration to get rid of the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States rule, which critics call government overreach. Georgia is among the states suing to block the rule. Carr also signed a letter urging an end to the Clean Power Plan. Read our Clean Power Plan commentary here. Source: WABE
This month in the archives: In December five years ago, the Foundation published, “Better Busways Don’t Require Exclusive Lanes.” It noted, “The idea of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gradually been catching on with U.S. transportation planners. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, in most cases it’s a mistake to develop BRT systems based on exclusive rights of way.”
Foundation in the news: Watchdog.org quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article on how reducing taxes can enhance rural broadband access. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly in an article on K-12 education funding. The Newnan Times-Herald, The Rome News-Tribune, The Calhoun Times, The Walker County Messenger, The Catoosa County News, The Polk County Standard Journal, Northwest Georgia News and The Cherokee County Herald published Ronald Bachman’s commentary on competitive cross-state selling of individual health insurance. The Foundation’s report on the 25th anniversary celebration was published in Middle Georgia CEO, Athens CEO, Albany CEO, Metro Atlanta CEO, Augusta CEO, Columbus CEO, Newnan CEO and Valdosta CEO. Benita Dodd’s commentary, “The Glacial Update of Georgia’s Water Plan,” was published in Fannin Fetchyournews, Dawson Fetchyournews, White Fetchyournews, Pickens Fetchyournews, Towns Fetchyournews, Gilmer Fetchyournews, Union Fetchyournews and Lumpkin Fetchyournews.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “New Year, Same Old Streetcar Named Disaster,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Happy New Year!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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 Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Find the Foundation on social media at Facebook, twitter.com/gppf and Instagram.