Friday Facts: January 19, 2024

The numbers don’t lie.

In recent years, there has been significant migration from high-tax and high-regulation states to economically free states with lighter tax and regulatory burdens.

This migration pattern paints a compelling picture. States like California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois are losing residents to Florida,  Texas — and of course, Georgia, which is renowned for its relatively low taxes and business-friendly environment. 

Just three states welcomed more people last year. Specifically, data show that while just 8,889 individuals moved from Georgia to New York, a staggering 16,535 people — nearly double — made the reverse move from New York to Georgia. This resulted in a net migration of 7,646 individuals favoring Georgia over New York. A similar trend is evident in migration flows from New Jersey, Illinois and California, with Georgia consistently attracting more residents from these states than it loses.

What else do we know about states that are gaining population compared to those that are losing population?

Check out this week’s commentary on Georgia’s growing population to find out. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Lawmakers have set their calendar for the 2024 legislative session
  • State economist talks about potential recession in Georgia
  • Kemp signs School Choice Week proclamation 
  • Gwinnett County gearing up for next transit tax referendum 

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

We have run out of ‘next years’

“I believe we have run out of ‘next years.’” With those words in his 2024 State of the State address, Gov. Brian Kemp both summarized the urgency of empowering families to choose the best educational setting for their children and put the onus on members of the General Assembly to act.

Kemp highlights school choice in State of the State

Gov. Brian Kemp’s annual State of the State address before the Georgia General Assembly was positive. He described Georgia as a growing and prosperous state with a fiscally conservative government, in sharp contrast to Washington, D.C.

This “could” be a big legislative session

From the Promise Scholarship Act to Certificate of Need repeal to tax reform, 2024 “could” be a year in which lawmakers tackle a number of issues. But the emphasis is on “could.” 

Braves’ departure from Mississippi was predictable

While we don’t want to make bold predictions, it’s safe to say this won’t be the last time a Minor League Baseball team chases government funding. An ability to generate revenue or pay off for taxpayers doesn’t seem to matter. Maybe Columbus will be different. 

At the Capitol: Week of January 15 

It was Budget Week at the State Capitol as the House and Senate appropriations committees spent the week hearing budget proposals from state agencies. You can find the Governor’s Budget Report here. Here are some other updates from the past week:

  • Lawmakers adopted their full 40-day calendar for this session. You can view the calendar here. Key dates to watch are Crossover Day, when all bills must pass out of their originating chamber, on February 29 and Sine Die, the last day of the session, on March 28.
  • Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, introduced legislation aimed at protecting teenagers from cyberbullying and other negative effects of social media. “We believe Senate Bill 351 is an important step forward in protecting Georgia’s children and giving them the tools they need to be safe in their use of social media and other technologies,” Anavitarte said.
  • Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, introduced legislation that would limit year-to-year increases in home values for local property taxes to 3%, regardless of assessed value.
  • Sen. Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, was recently appointed chairman of the state’s Committee on Veterans, Military Homeland Security. The chairmanship was open after Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, resigned to run for Congress in the 3rd District. 
  • Lawmakers return to their normal legislative duties on Monday for Day 6 of the calendar. 

The Latest


Kemp pitching Georgia at World Economic Forum

Gov. Brian Kemp is talking up Georgia to foreign business and political bigwigs for the second January in a row. Kemp is spending the week in Switzerland attending the World Economic Forum, meeting business executives and political leaders and taking part in discussion panels.

Recession could be looming in Georgia this year, state economist says

The state economist says a recession is probably looming in Georgia. Dr. Bob Buschman gave the gloomy forecast to state lawmakers, who are spending the week talking about money. The last big recession was 17 years ago, driven by risky mortgage loans and threw a lot of people out of work. If there’s one this year, the state’s economist says it will be less impactful. 

Georgia Power says it needs more energy for industry

Georgia Power says record levels of industrial growth in the state means the utility needs permission to radically increase the amount of electricity it produces. Georgia Power has proposed to meet most of the projected need for more power, much of it from the ”green transportation” sector, through a mix of burning coal and fossil gas. 

The inflation fight faces a ‘difficult’ last mile

Inflation has fallen considerably from its highs of 2022, but the last mile to price stability may be the most challenging. The Labor Department reported last week that the consumer price index re-accelerated in December amid a spike in energy and shelter costs, underscoring the challenge of taming price pressures within the economy.


Kemp proclaims School Choice Week in Georgia

Gov. Brian Kemp has declared January 21-27 School Choice Week in Georgia, with a proclamation that reads, “by increasing access to high-performing schools and improving education outcomes, we can ensure the continued growth and development of our state’s most valuable resources — the minds of our youngest learners.”

Georgia leaders propose $11.3M to improve reading as some lawmakers seek a more aggressive approach

Georgia education officials want to provide literacy coaches to help train teachers to improve reading instruction, even as some prominent lawmakers say the state Department of Education isn’t doing enough to implement a literacy law passed last year.

Lawmakers want Georgia Lottery to pay for Pre-K

State lawmakers want to use part of a $100 million lottery surplus to help kids on the front end by overhauling Georgia’s pre-K program to better prepare students for primary and secondary school. The money would be used to reduce class sizes, increase operating funds and the number of pre-K programs, and raise teacher salaries.

Richmond County students could have year-round school in 2025

Richmond County schools’ schedules could look very different in the next couple of years. A tentative, adapted year-round calendar was presented to the Richmond County Board of Education this week as one of two options for the 2025-2026 school year. This would not, however, mean more school days. 

Government accountability

Georgia agriculture commissioner endorses restricting foreign ownership of farmland

Tyler Harper, Georgia’s agriculture commissioner, endorsed restricting foreign ownership of farmland in the Peach State, weighing in on an issue that has recently gained traction with a particular focus on Chinese ownership. The issue has bubbled up in the last week with reports highlighting a Chinese billionaire, Chen Tianqiao, as the second-largest individual foreign owner of U.S. land.

Georgia secretary of state calls for investigation into possible double voting

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is asking for investigations into possible cases of double voting in the 2022 General Election. The Secretary of State’s Office said that Raffensperger had referred 17 case files to district attorneys. According to the state, the individuals involved are suspected of voting in Georgia and in another state in 2022.

Decision on ‘no turn on red’ for parts of Atlanta still under consideration

A push to ban right turns at red lights in the heart of Atlanta is still up in the air. However, the person behind the draft said it’s not the end. Atlanta Councilman Jason Dozier says the language of the legislation needs more work, but that he will continue this push because of an increase in pedestrian injuries and deaths.


Gwinnett commissioners one step closer to transit expansion referendum

Gwinnett County commissioners are one step closer to asking voters to consider a sales tax to support transit expansion in the county. The commission voted unanimously to declare their intent to vote in May on whether to call for a referendum on a 1% transit special purpose local option sales tax. This does not constitute an actual call for a referendum, however.

GDOT’s HERO hoping to resume 24-hour operations

As sub-freezing temperatures disable cars and leave drivers stranded, the operation designed to help stranded motorists is slowly rebuilding to a 24-hour operation. Georgia Department of Transportation’s Highway Emergency Response Operators say they are on track to resume 24-hour day operations sometime this spring, if not earlier.

Doubts persist on whether Georgia rail projects happen

The federal government has awarded millions of dollars to study possible rail connections nationwide, including in Georgia. The Federal Railroad Administration awarded $1.5 million to study the possibility of running passenger trains on a trio of corridors in Georgia.


Third Georgia Buc-ee’s to break ground at the end of January

Another Buc-ee’s is coming to Georgia. The company announced it will break ground Jan. 29 on its 74,000 sq. ft. store at 7156 Hwy 99, located off I-95, in Brunswick. The location will have 120 fueling stations. This will be the third Buc-ee’s in Georgia, with other locations being in Fort Valley, along I-75 just south of Warner Robins, and Adairsville, along I-75 in northeast Georgia.

Uber shuts down alcohol delivery app Drizly

Uber is shutting down the alcohol delivery service Drizly, after buying it for $1.1 billion in 2021. Drizly boasted a large selection of beer, wine and liquor, which could be ordered in areas where alcohol delivery was legal.

Dead cars surround chargers as Teslas struggle in frozen temperatures

Tesla owners in Chicago are becoming deeply frustrated with their vehicles not being able to charge or hold a charge, even after a trip to a Supercharger. According to reports, dozens of owners are lining up at supercharging stations in the Windy City. Some owners are even leaving their vehicles behind, turning some public charging stations into “car graveyards.”

Quotes of the Week

“Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared, but only men of character are trusted.” – Zig Ziglar

“In order to realize the worth of the anchor we need to feel the stress of the storm.” – Corrie ten Boom

“Anger is the wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.” – Robert Green Ingersoll

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