Friday Facts: December 8, 2023

In November, a delegation of current and former Arkansas policymakers testified before the Georgia House Study Committee on CON Modernization. Their presentation focused on Arkansas Medicaid programs since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), principally the Arkansas 1115 waiver known as the “private option.” 

Georgia policymakers may be asked to consider a potential expansion of the state Medicaid program using Arkansas as the model. This brief evaluates the ancillary claims made by proponents of the Arkansas private option, such as the positive effect on health insurance premiums and decreased emergency room utilization for non-emergency cases.

But what is the Arkansas 1115 waiver? We also wanted to look into important questions like have health insurance premiums on the exchanged stabilized in Arkansas, has non-emergent use of emergency rooms decreased and what does it cost the state?

We look at those questions in this week’s commentary on Arkansas’s private option. We hope you will check it out. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Senate Study Committee recommends full CON repeal
  • Georgia leaders call for acceleration of 2022 tax cuts
  • Family budgets for Christmas aren’t going up
  • School choice popular among Hispanic families

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

Senate Study Committee recommends full CON repeal 

A Senate Study Committee on Certificate of Need (CON) Reform in Georgia has confirmed that the original issue the CON laws were meant to address no longer exists. Instead, these laws are being used by established entities in the healthcare market to stifle competition, denying patients the advantages of progress in healthcare delivery, especially in rural areas. Consequently, the committee strongly recommends a full repeal of Georgia’s CON laws.

Time to redraw our economic future

Many Gold Dome denizens were buzzing instead about what lawmakers will do during their regular session starting next month. That’s the product of a lot of loose ends from earlier this year. It’s also the product of letting $10.7 billion go unspent over the past few years, above and beyond reserve accounts.

Missing MARTA money and crooked officers of the law headline this month’s waste, fraud and abuse 

The Waycross-based Coastal Pines Technical College disbursed aid money to students who did not qualify, according to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts. That story, and more, in our review of the latest stories of waste, fraud and abuse across Georgia.

A review of Georgia’s college and career academies

As the popularity of college and career academies grows, the Foundation released a new report on the data available on success metrics such as college credits and dual enrollment, along with future recommendations.

Home affordability lags in Georgia because of too little supply

Home affordability lags in Georgia (and elsewhere) because of too little supply. The exact size of the shortage is debatable, but here’s a reference point: Georgia added about as many homes between 2010 and 2019 as it did between 1995 and 1999, despite welcoming 2 million new residents in between.

Now is the time to empower Georgia parents

At its core, education freedom is about empowering parents and students to have more control over their education by allowing them to choose an education that best fits their needs.

The Latest


Georgia leaders want to ‘accelerate’ state’s income tax rate cut

Georgia officials want to “accelerate” the decrease in the state’s individual income tax rate. During the legislative session that starts in January, state Republicans plan to amend House Bill 1437, a measure passed in 2022 that gradually lowers the state’s income tax rate until it reaches 4.99% for the tax year starting “on or after” Jan. 1, 2029.

Georgia Ports Authority approves building a $127M rail terminal northeast of Atlanta

The Georgia Ports Authority will spend $127 million building a new inland terminal for moving cargo by train between Savannah’s busy seaport and Gainesville. Known as the Blue Ridge Connector, the terminal will link northeast Georgia to the Port of Savannah by rail across roughly 250 miles.


Support for school choice strong among Hispanic families

Educational choice policies like charter schools, vouchers, and education savings accounts garner support from more than two-thirds of Hispanic parents, based on nearly 30 nationally representative surveys conducted since September 2020.

Global math and reading assessment indicates widespread post-pandemic learning loss

A recent global assessment of 15-year-olds’ math and reading skills shows that the United States lags far behind its peer nations in math while performing unexpectedly well in reading. The results from the 2022 test, the first since the pandemic, show major declines in American students’ overall math performance and a surprising stability in reading scores.

Government accountability

Atlanta city employees unable to take vacation time due to staffing shortage

Atlanta city employees have been unable to take vacation time because there aren’t enough employees to cover their shifts. The result is lost benefits and lost employees who find better circumstances in other jobs. Atlanta city council members said the city needs to find a way to schedule reliable vacations for police, fire and other workers.

Southern Georgia Regional Commission unveils TSPLOST II proposed project list

The Executive Committee of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission Roundtable has unveiled a Draft Constrained Investment List for the counties representing the Special District for the proposed Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. This is a regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency that serves 45 municipalities and 18 counties. 


Gwinnett zoning officials force group pushing for massive Hamilton Mill apartment development to start over

Representatives for Brand Properties, which is hoping to build a massive apartment complex in Gwinnett County, will have to start from scratch and submit a new rezoning application for the controversial proposal after zoning officials withdrew the application for the project that 

originally included 700 apartment units and 10,000 square feet of commercial retail space.

Atlanta campaign accepts applicants to receive free rent for a year

An Atlanta investment group is working to help families deal with the rising cost of housing in the city by paying their rent for a full year. Roots Real Estate Investment rolled out their Free Rent Atlanta campaign in November. Applications are due today and the winner will be chosen on New Year’s Eve.


Middle-income families to spend the same or less than last year this holiday season

Analysts say holiday spending overall is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels, but that doesn’t mean middle-income families are going all out. Driven mostly by inflation, metro Atlanta-based Primerica predicts that about 83% of the middle class will spend about the same or less on holiday shopping this year compared to last year. 

Reduce occupational licensing burden to help Georgians find jobs

Nearly one in five workers in the state must get an occupational license before they can legally do their job. “License to Work,” a 2022 study, shows the average license for low- and moderate-income jobs in Georgia involves 472 days of education and experience. The time investment is just the beginning. 

Hartsfield-Jackson named ‘North America’s Best Airport’ for 2nd year in a row

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Business Traveler Award for “North America’s Best Airport” for the second consecutive year. The accolade is part of the Business Traveler Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements in the aviation industry, including airlines, airports, hotels, and travel service.

Quotes of the Week

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

“A characteristic of the great saints is their power of levity…Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.” – Alfred Adler

« Previous Next »