Friday Facts: January 20, 2017

It’s Friday!


January 26: January 24 is the deadline to register for the National School Choice Week Leadership Breakfast keynoted by education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi. He will unveil his study on the real numbers of Georgia’s public school spending and staffing. 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: 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. Information and registration here.

Quotes of note

“Happily for America, happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society.” – James Madison (1787)

“Given the federal government’s mounting fiscal challenges, it’s essential that it be able to accurately account for its costs, outlays and assets. But … much more has to be done to provide policymakers with reliable financial and performance data – information that is crucial for the difficult spending decisions that lie ahead.” – Gene Dodaro, U.S. Comptroller General

“The success of the Trump administration will hinge on the ability of mid-level political appointees to adhere to conservative principles and implement public policy based on those principles: smaller, more efficient government; commitment to the rule of law and the constitutional limits on the power of the federal government; respect for local sovereignty and our federal system; and rejection of the identity politics that threaten to permanently divide us as a nation.” – Hans Von Spakovsky

Welfare reform

Moms with jobs: As welfare reform unfolded (1990 to 2005), youth arrests for minor crimes declined 7-9 percent, according to the National Bureau for Economic Research. Admitting the literature is “scant” on the effects of maternal employment on adolescent behavior, the NBER notes its study nevertheless supports “the widely embraced argument that welfare reform would discourage undesirable social behavior, not only of mothers, but also of the next generation.

Ending the cycle: In a randomized experiment, federal housing authorities assigned low-income families in public housing to one of three groups: one with a housing voucher for a low-poverty area, one with a traditional Section 8 housing voucher, and a control group. Children whose families moved to lower-poverty areas before they were 13 had higher college attendance, lower crime, higher incomes, were less likely to become single parents and lived in better neighborhoods as adults. Source: Poverty Action Lab

Georgia Legislature 2017

The issues: Legislators have been mailed copies of the Foundation’s Guide to the Issues, focusing on education, transportation, health care, taxes, criminal justice and more. Click here to read the Foundation’s proposals online.slide1


Ripe for the picking: While 69 of 99 statehouses and 33 governors’ mansions are controlled by Republicans, most of whom pledged to restrain or reduce the size of government, Republicans lead only 28 of the 100 largest cities. “If large cities are to return to financial stability and economic growth, they must be run by people who believe in free markets, limited government and a light regulatory burden,” Merrill Matthews writes in Investor’s Business Daily.


Disruptive innovation I: Georgia Tech students enrolled in the online master’s program in computer science learned as much as those who attended classes in person, according to a new study. The online classes cost about $7,000, less than one-sixth the price of its in-person counterpart, and did not detract from enrollment in traditional classes. Source: National Bureau for Economic Research 

Disruptive innovation II: A new school opening near Emory University will combine STEM and personalized learning. The 21st Century STEM Academy held its first open house this week. Gareth Genner, co-founder of the school, was featured at our 2015 Legislative Policy Forum


Transparency: Philadelphia residents are outraged by the City Council’s 1.5 cents-per-ounce soda tax that took effect this year and raises the cost of some drinks higher than beer. And elected officials are annoyed that store owners are exposing the tax on customer receipts. In San Diego, where restaurant owners added a surcharge on bills to cover the 2017 minimum wage hike, diners are distressed and the city attorney is now investigating.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In January 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Georgia Charter Schools: Engines of Educational Improvement.” It noted, “Thirteen years ago, Georgia engaged in a rancorous policy debate over the existence of charter schools. Thankfully, that era is over.” The battle to expand choice continues, however.


Foundation in the news: All News 106.7 in Atlanta interviewed Kelly McCutchen on the upcoming legislative session. Georgia Health News reported on Benita Dodd’s Athens speech encouraging Georgia to seek reimbursement for unfunded federal health care mandates.

Social media: The Foundation has 3,141 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,694 followers at Follow us on Instagram, too!

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Fixing the $1 Billion Federal Unfunded Heath Care Mandate,” by Kelly McCutchen.

Have a great weekend and Go Falcons!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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