Friday Facts: January 21st, 2011

It’s Friday!

Join our Forum!
– If you like the Friday Facts, you’ll love the Forum. This interactive community is a series of issue-oriented blogs where you can find breaking stories and analysis from Foundation experts. This week, Mike Klein provided daily stories on the budget hearings and we started analyzing various parts of the Tax Reform Council’s plan. Each issue area has its own RSS feed; join the discussion today!

– “‘Public Education’ 
should mean public funds to educate children – not to support specific school systems. We need to let all parents decide where they send their children to school.” – “Reach for the Stars: A Proposal for Education Reform in Georgia,” Georgia Public Policy Foundation, 1991
– “Wikipedia is 10 years old this week. Well, I read that on Wikipedia, so it’s probably not true.” – Craig Ferguson
– “A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Lafayette, 1823

Criminal justice
– Taking a bite out of crime: When Georgia’s new Governor, Nathan Deal, gave his inaugural address on Jan. 11 he wasted little time in addressing the crisis in criminal justice costs. He highlighted the need for drug courts, DUI courts and mental health courts as both a social and budget solution. The Foundation has proposed solutions to cut crime and cut costs in commentaries and in a session at the 2010 Legislative Policy Briefing, which can be viewed in streaming video on Foundation TV. In a recent op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley, who presides over a drug court, noted that “adult felony drug courts in Georgia offer better outcomes; specifically, lower recidivism rates, higher sobriety levels and much lower costs to Georgia taxpayers in that fewer people go to prison, more go on to work and more families remain intact.”

What’s happening at the Foundation
– Celebrate choice
: Join the Foundation and a dozen other organizations to celebrate school choice at a public rally on the state Capitol steps on Tuesday, January 25, from 10 a.m. to noon. Find out more at
– Do you or does someone you know want to intern for liberty? The Institute for Humane Studies offers paid journalism and policy internships as well as award fellowships for liberty-related research, with opportunities for placement around the country and in Georgia. Apply by Jan. 31 at
 Join U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia and Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute at a Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon on Friday, Feb. 4, at the Georgian Club. The topic is, “Health Care Prognosis and Prognostications.” The cost to attend this luncheon is $35. Register by Feb. 2 at this link:
– What will you do to help the Foundation celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2011? E-mail  to share how you will highlight the Foundation’s “20 For 20,” campaign. Will you recommend us to 20 of your Facebook friends? If so, go to … And let us know!  

Taxes and spending
– The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal praised Georgia’s proposed tax reform plan this week as “The Anti-Illinois.” It praised the plan for following “the first principle of a sound and fair tax system: Apply a low rate to a broad base” and encouraged the state to move toward reducing income tax rates to zero to compete with Florida and Texas.

Health care
– In 2009, Rhode Island became the first state in the nation to receive block grant funding for Medicaid. Since then, it has saved money without reducing eligibility and becomea national role model.  Rhode Island is successfully showing that more money is not the solution; comprehensive reform and freedom from onerous federal mandates work, according to a Galen Institute report.
– Now the alternative: For intellectual honesty, when supporting a tax cut you also need to be prepared to reduce spending. Along these same lines, the U.S. House must stand ready to present new health care reform ideas after voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Georgia Congressman Tom Price, who has demonstrated strong leadership in this arena, addresses a Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon on Feb. 4.  Foundation Senior Fellow John Goodman has a concise analysis of 10 structural flaws in the current law, along with his market-oriented solutions. Read more here:

Energy and environment
– Nowhere near peak: Supplies of natural gas could last more than 250 years if Asian and European economies follow the United States. in exploring “unconventional reserves,” according to the International Energy Agency. The abundance of shale gas and other forms of unconventional gas discovered in the United States prompted a global rush to explore for the new resource. In Brazil, researchers have forecast that oil deposits below a layer of salt in the Atlantic Ocean are at least 123 billion barrels of reserves,more than double government estimates of 50 billion barrels, Bloomberg reports. China last week reported identifying 38 offshore oil and gas-bearing basins. A senior official told the China Daily newspaper that new resources detected in the past 10 years accounted for about half of all resources found in the past half century, and the amount of new resources found each year has surpassed their annual consumption.

– Back to basics: Citing informed opinion in the nation’s capital, transportation expert Kenneth Orski predicts that the focus will be on “the traditional concerns of keeping roads and bridges in a state of good repair. They also will be under pressure to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund by bringing transportation expenditures in line with expected gas tax receipts. …The flow of gas tax revenues into the Highway Trust Fund is expected to average $40-41 billion/year for the next several years according to the most recent Congressional Budget Office projections. Keeping spending within those limits will require shedding certain discretionary  programs that are deemed not to be of national significance as, for example, various ‘transportation enhancement’ activities that benefit only local communities.” Source:



– Click on this link or visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Foundation’s Role Pivotal in Georgia’s Lessons in School Choice,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend.

Kelly McCutchen

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