Friday Facts: February 10, 2023

It’s Friday!

As rising housing costs continue to frustrate developers and buyers, it remains important for citizens to understand what goes into those costs – especially if they seem arbitrary or unnecessarily burdensome.

Providing some context about what goes into your housing costs is exactly what part two of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s study on Georgia’s development impact fees aims to do.

In the first part of the study, released last October, we provided a comprehensive list of all existing development impact fees in Georgia. Local governments levy impact fees on new development projects to pay for local infrastructure, such as roads and water treatment.

The data we gathered were instructive to say the least. Why, for example, do counties with similar populations, demographics and economies often charge wildly different impact fees? This new study provides more context — where there is context to be found — on these matters. We hope this new study will educate people and ultimately help make housing more affordable in Georgia.

Kemp’s Georgia Pathways will soon be launched

Georgia is months away from launching one of Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature policies to expand health coverage. Kemp’s Georgia Pathways “waiver” allows low-income workers – who typically make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford commercial insurance, including the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies – to gain coverage.

Georgia legislators want state to trim Cosmetologists’ licensing requirements

Legislation has been introduced to lessen the regulatory requirements for niche beauty services, including blow dry styling, eyebrow threading and makeup artistry.

One Georgia mayor’s alleged malfeasance and other acts of misspent taxpayer money

The latest story about waste, fraud or abuse of taxpayer money throughout Georgia finds reported problems with how Clayton County officials spend taxpayer money, and more.

Tax credit scholarship expansion introduced

While states like Utah and Iowa have already moved forward in 2023 with new laws that will make school choice available to every student in their respective states, we do see education freedom starting to move in Georgia, thanks to a proposed expansion of the tax credit scholarship program.

📺 WATCH: More students in Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program?

Here is your recap of the fifth week of the 2023 legislative session in Georgia.

  • Lawmakers completed their 16th day of the legislative session on Thursday. For those keeping score, the session is only 40 days, so we are nearing the halfway point. And we are less than a month from Crossover Day on March 6.
  • The General Assembly recognized the Atlanta Braves’ Michael Harris, the 2022 N.L. Rookie of the Year and a Stockbridge High alum, on Tuesday.
  • Senate Bill 99, sponsored by Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, would exempt new hospitals being built in any of Georgia’s 120 rural counties from the state’s certificate of need requirement. The bill received a hearing in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Thursday, but no vote was taken.
  • Senate BIll 102, sponsored by Sen. Larry Walker, R-Perry, would allow certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) to work pursuant to an order from a physician, rather than under direct supervision of a physician. Under current law, surgeons are often fulfilling the requirement and providing onsite supervision despite a lack of training in anesthesiology.
  • The Senate on Tuesday approved a permanent prohibition on state agencies and local governments from requiring proof of COVID vaccination for government services. Such requirements are already banned, but only through June 30. Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Dolezal now goes to the House for consideration.
  • Bills to lessen the burden of occupational licensing have been introduced. House Bill 212, sponsored by Rep. David Jenkins, R-Grantville, would allow individuals who only provide the services of blow-dry styling, braiding, threading or makeup application to do so without being licensed by the state. House Bill 155, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, would allow the spouses of firefighters, law enforcement officers and healthcare professionals who move to Georgia to immediately secure an occupational license if they hold a license in good standing in their previous state of residence. Read the Foundation’s recent commentary about occupational regulations in Georgia more broadly.
  • A handful of bills concerning public safety have been introduced. You can read about them here.
  • bill to incorporate Buckhead City was introduced by Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula.


Senate passes bill to evaluate whether job requirements match needed skills

The Georgia Senate advanced a bill that would instruct an agency to examine qualifications for state government jobs and not require a college degree unless truly necessary. 

South Carolina becomes the latest state to advance school choice

The South Carolina Senate approved a bill creating education savings accounts that low-income and middle class families could use for private school and other educational expenses.

Government accountability

Economic development deals hinge on timing and information, observers say

When it comes to keeping its cards close on incentives that attract new business, Georgia is not alone. Many states, one observer says, conceal what incentives they plan to give corporations.

Developers request $200 million from taxpayers for dying mall

Taxpayer dollars will fund nearly a third of the redevelopment at the dying Georgia Square Mall in Athens. Developers have requested almost $200 million in public funds and say the project won’t happen without the money.


Homebuyers lured by dip in mortgage rates still higher than a year ago

Homebuyers were lured by a dip in mortgage rates, still higher than a year ago. The median sales price of a metro Atlanta home in January was $360,000. The fiercest demand is for lower-priced homes, but the higher prices go, the more interest rates are a factor.

Atlanta declared No. 2 market for multifamily investment in 2023

For a myriad of reasons, a recent analysis of the country’s top 50 markets has slotted Atlanta as the second-best place to invest in multifamily properties for the first half of 2023.


Atlanta has some of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, study finds

Traffic in metro Atlanta is known to cause major headaches for drivers, and a new study has found some of the area’s key trouble spots are some of the worst in the nation. That includes Spaghetti Junction at No. 4 and Interstate 20 at Interstate 285 on the west side at No. 5 on the list.

Savannah’s airport sets new record in 2022

Travel through Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport has bounced back from the slump of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the airport announced a record-high number of passengers in 2022.

Quotes of the Week

“Hard work is not punishment. Hard work is the price of admission for the opportunity to reach sustained excellence.” – Jay Bilas

“Men can be divided into two groups; one that goes ahead and achieves something, and one that comes after and criticizes.” – Seneca

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

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