Quotes of note
“If you want to see the poor remain poor, generation after generation, just keep the standards low in their schools and make excuses for their academic shortcomings and personal misbehavior. But please don’t congratulate yourself on your compassion.” – Thomas Sowell
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” – John Milton
On Our Desks
We’re hiring! Are you a journalist with a love of investigation and the desire to use your skills to lead meaningful change? We’re hiring an investigative journalist to join the Foundation team. Learn more here.
Not the usual spending problems: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield examines the unexpected budget surplus facing Georgia lawmakers.
Fond farewell: Staff, board members and supporters toasted Benita Dodd for 19 years with the Foundation. Our longtime vice president, Dodd left the Foundation at the end of 2021 and is taking some time off before choosing a new adventure. We miss her already!
At the Capitol
Waiting game: Proceedings at the Capitol this week primarily consisted of budget hearings as state agency leaders testified before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Legislators continue to prefile bills with Legislative Day 5 scheduled for Monday.
More money, more problems: The Atlanta Journal Constitution takes a deep dive into Governor Kemp’s record-setting budget surplus and asks what the governor plans to do with the $3.7 billion surplus.
Big news for Banks County: PNK Group, a Russian developer, plans to build a 5.4 million square-foot industrial space on 554 acres in Banks County, near Homer, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. If approved by Banks County zoning and other officials, the project is estimated to cost $325 million and is expected to generate $1.8 million in local tax revenue annually.
A home for AirBNB: Popular vacation rental company AirBNB will locate its initial office space for its East Coast tech hub in West Midtown, Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. AirBNB is the latest in a succession of West Coast companies like Google and Mirosoft moving into the Atlanta area.
Rocketing, not lumbering: Record lumber prices and cardboard production are starting to lift southern timber to price levels last observed prior to the Great Recession. Analysts, foresters and timberland owners say it is still too early to call an end to the timber bust, and the recovery is uneven, but the average price in the South for pine trees used to make lumber hasn’t been this high since late 2007.
Brr: A weekend of cold weather and high winds left thousands of Georgia residents without power or heat early this week. Northern and eastern parts of the state could be facing even more wintry weather this weekend.
Climbing: After wading through a testing backlog, Georgia’s latest new COVID case count tops 27,000. There have been a total of 26,854 COVID-related deaths in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.
Vaccination rates: Months after Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children, Georgia lags behind in vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11. Statewide, just 16% of eligible children have received at least one dose, well behind the national average of 27%
Can you feel it in the air? Georgia Tech researchers are developing a machine that could detect COVID-19 in the air. According to researchers, they are close to making the idea a reality, and the machine could be fine-tuned to detect avian, influenza virus or swine flu, foot and mouth disease, and even biological warfare agents.
This month in the archive: Since its founding in 2010, School Choice Week has been a time to reflect on how far Georgia has come in education opportunities and how far it has to go. As this 2015 commentary reminds us, “School choice should be a daily celebration in Georgia, not just warm fuzzies one chilly week in January.” This year, School Choice Week is from January 22-29.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, School Choice Week and the “Year of Educational Freedom”
Have a great weekend.
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