Georgia is the best in the nation when it comes to college football. That is undisputed. But one public policy area where Georgia needs work is occupational regulations. Does Georgia make it harder than other states to secure work in lower and middle-income occupations?
“License to Work” is the Institute for Justice’s nationwide study of how occupational licensing laws impact labor and freedom. The study catalogs 2,749 licenses nationwide and uses a sample of 102 lower and middle-income occupations that, in certain areas and to varying degrees, require some form of government license or government-mandated prior qualification for entry.
The good news for Georgia is that it requires relatively few licenses compared to other states. The bad news is that the barriers to obtain those licenses are high.
Occupational regulations, government officials say, ensure the public’s overall health and safety. Market participants, however, exploit occupational regulations to limit competition and drive new players out. This naturally raises costs for consumers. Meanwhile, far less restrictive alternatives exist that are often more appropriate than government licensing. That is the path lawmakers should follow.
Stetson Bennett will forever be remembered as the former walk-on who led Georgia to consecutive national championships. And just maybe his rise will provide a lesson for all of us.
With new leadership in the House and Senate, questions remain about how both chambers will operate. And, more importantly, which policy reforms lawmakers will pursue?
Different people have different ideas on what to do with the state’s $6 billion surplus. The legislature should take the opportunity to accelerate the date that the tax relief adopted last year kicks in.
Over the past two years, we have seen sweeping school choice programs adopted in Arizona and West Virginia. Florida continues to expand their programs. Meanwhile, Georgia remains at a standstill.
They did what? Catch up on the newest reports of government waste, fraud and abuse throughout the Peach State, as documented in December.
At the Capitol
Here is a recap of the first week of the 2023 legislative session in Georgia.
- The Georgia legislature gaveled in to start the session on Monday. House members, as expected, elected Rep. Jon Burns (R-Newington) as Speaker. Burns previously served as Majority Leader.
- In the Senate, Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) was elected President Pro Tempore, the chamber’s number two position.
- Gov. Brian Kemp’s second term inaugural was held Thursday. You can watch his inaugural address here.
- Lawmakers in both chambers adopted the entire 40 day schedule. Crossover Day, the deadline for bills to clear at least one chamber, is scheduled for March 6. “Sine Die,” the last day of the session, will take place March 29.
- The General Assembly completed four legislative days this week. They will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day next Monday. Both chambers will return Tuesday for their annual Budget Week, featuring presentations by leaders of various state departments.
Putting Patients First
Our Chris Denson will participate in an event hosted by Americans For Prosperity – Georgia outlining the need to repeal Georgia’s Certificate of Need law. The event will also include U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA-06) and State Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming). The event is scheduled for 7 p.m., January 27, at the Forsyth Conference Center in Cumming.
Postponed: Georgia Freedom Dinner
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 2023 Georgia Freedom Dinner has been postponed to late April. Full details will be announced soon. For more information please contact Whitney Tipton.
After months of extensions, Georgia residents will soon pay more for gasoline after the suspension of the state’s motor fuel tax expired this week. Georgia’s gasoline price normally includes a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and a state tax of 29.1 cents per gallon. A number of counties and the city of Atlanta also charge taxes. Federal taxes on diesel fuel are 24.4 cents per gallon, while Georgia’s tax on diesel is 32.6 cents per gallon.
Texas, Florida and the Carolinas were the preferred destinations of one-way U-Haul truck customers during 2022, ranking as the top growth states on the annual U-Haul Growth Index. Georgia ranked number 8 last year. Demand for equipment out of California, Illinois and New York remained strong in 2022, as more people opted to leave areas of the West Coast, Northeast and Midwest.
Gov. Brian Kemp has officially declared January 22-28 as School Choice Week in Georgia. With this proclamation, Kemp joined leaders across the country who have officially recognized the week as a time to celebrate educational options.
Far from being a “rural school killer,” education choice policies like ESAs expand educational opportunity for rural families while spurring rural district schools to improve their performance.
Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed a universal school choice plan this week. She called on the legislature to make available to every Iowa student a taxpayer-funded scholarship that their families can use to pay for various education options, including private school.
A day after the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicated his agency may pursue a ban on gas stoves in houses, the White House clarified their position. The White House said they do not support a ban even as the Commission says “any option is on the table.”
Dozens of job opportunities might open up for people with criminal records. Supporters are mounting a legislative push to remove barriers for professional licenses that are required for one out of every seven jobs in Georgia.
A legislative study committee threw its support behind a pilot project for mileage-based user fees. Such fees have been proposed as a replacement for the motor-fuel tax as drivers embrace electric vehicles and/or more fuel-efficient vehicles. Read the Foundation’s study outlining considerations and recommendations for the adoption of mileage-based user fees.
MARTA is spending more than $1 billion on expanding its system and replacing its aging fleet of railcars. In addition to spending $646 million on new railcars expected to start service in 2025, the agency plans to spend up to $215 million to extend Atlanta’s streetcar line eastward.
Quotes of the Week
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Keep your mouth shut. Work hard. Life is tough. Work through it.” – Stetson Bennett, IV
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald