This week is National School Choice Week, and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast on Thursday was among a record-breaking 21,392 taking place across all 50 states to champion choice in education. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal joined more than 600 elected officials – governors, mayors and county leaders – in issuing a proclamation to declare January 22-28 School Choice Week. Foundation Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi unveiled his study, “Balancing the Books,” which found the state Department of Education website underreports public school spending by billions of dollars. Read the news release here; see photos of the Foundation event on Facebook 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
“Even if bureaucracy is largely exterminated … people need to be vigilant – even paranoid – because the allure of bureaucracy is part of human nature and hard to resist, and it can return in the blink of an eye. Bureaucracy frustrates people, distorts their priorities, limits their dreams and turns the face of the entire enterprise inward.” – John Welch
“It is evident that many great and useful objects can be attained in this world only by co-operation. It is equally evident that there cannot be efficient cooperation if men proceed on the principle that they must not cooperate for one object unless they agree about other objects.” – Thomas Babington Macaulay
“Why should manufacturing jobs lost to foreign competition be privileged by protectionist policies in ways that jobs lost to domestic competition are not? When an Applebee’s or Olive Garden, powered by a national advertising budget, opens next to, and causes the closing of, Madge’s Diner, why does Madge not merit protection? Or the Trade Adjustment Assistance that is available for workers, firms, farmers, even communities that can plausibly claim to have been otherwise injured by foreign competition or outsourcing of jobs?” – George Will
Trucker bottlenecks: For the second year in a row, Atlanta’s “Spaghetti Junction,” I-285 at I-85 North, is the nation’s most congested freight bottleneck, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). Seven metro Atlanta locations are on the list of the nation’s 100 worst bottlenecks. ATRI reports congestion on the nation’s highways costs the trucking industry $49.6 billion. The 728 million lost hours of productivity amount to 264,500 truck drivers sitting still for an entire year.
Infrastructure barriers: The Trump campaign proposed a $1 trillion program to foster private investment in aging public-sector infrastructure. Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation points out that for the past 15 years private investors got little traction on U.S. public-private partnership (P3) projects. A Reason study cited unfamiliarity with P3 models by state and local policymakers and federal barriers to private capital investment in state and local infrastructure.
Deadline: Healthcare.gov is reminding Americans that the deadline to obtain ObamaCare coverage for 2017 is January 31. More than 480,000 Georgians had signed up through the federally run exchange in the latest federal report, which was 6 percent fewer than the same period last year. Congressional Republicans say they plan to act on an ObamaCare repeal bill by April.
It’s not about more money: President Trump’s nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services is Georgia Congressman Tom Price, who faced a nomination hearing this week. He told the committee, “When we as a society use as the only major metric for determining whether or not we’re providing care for individuals in the Medicaid system the amount of money that we’re putting into the system, instead of the outcome – whether or not people are getting covered, whether they’re able to see the doctor they want to see, whether they’re able to get the care they want – then we are looking at the wrong thing.”
Georgia Legislature 2017
The issues: Legislators have received their 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. Questions? Email .
Indoctrination? A movement sweeping colleges and universities is “New Civics,” in reality progressive political activism, according to a new report by the National Association of Scholars. “Instead of teaching college students the foundations of law, liberty and self government, colleges teach students how to organize protests, occupy buildings and stage demonstrations.”
Scholarship savings: Tax credit scholarship programs around the nation, including Georgia’s, are saving taxpayers billions of dollars when students leave public schools, according to a new study by EdChoice. “Depending on the assumptions applied, the 10 programs analyzed in this report generated cumulative net savings between $1.7 billion and $3.4 billion from when they were launched to 2014,” according to the report.
Where’s the money? Teachers are getting a raw retirement deal, according to the Fordham Institute. It examined teacher retirement systems in the nation’s largest school districts and found teachers have to wait an average of 25 years before the value of their pensions are larger than what they contribute themselves. It proposes 401k-type plans instead.
This month in the archives: In January 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Laying the groundwork for major fiscal reform.” It noted, “Principled tax reform, limited spending and transparency in government are all worthy goals for the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly. Republican leaders in Congress lost their majority because they failed to live up to their conservative fiscal principles. Let’s hope Georgia’s elected officials don’t forget theirs.”
Foundation in the news: Kelly McCutchen’s commentary, “Fixing the $1 Billion Federal Unfunded Heath Care Mandate,” was published in The Savannah Morning News and The Citizen. The Savannah Morning News and The Coastal Courier published Benita Dodd’s commentary, “2017 Legislature Can Act on Tax, Health and Education Reform.”
Social media: The Foundation has 3,157 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,701 followers at twitter.com/gppf. Follow us on Instagram, too!
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Balancing the Books in Georgia Public Education,” by Benjamin Scafidi.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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