Friday Facts: January 31, 2014

It’s Friday!

Timing is everything: Jan. 26-Feb.1 is National School Choice Week. The Foundation hosted an informative panel discussion, “School Choice and Georgia: An Update,” Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, snow and related bad weather led to many Georgia events being canceled, including the National School Choice Rally on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol Tuesday afternoon and the America’s Future Foundation event Tuesday evening. (Like thousands of Georgians, the Foundation’s Benita Dodd and Mike Klein were stuck in the icy traffic jam. Mike spent the night in the aisle at the Publix on East Paces Ferry Road; Benita reached home at 1 a.m., 12 hours after leaving the Capitol.) We hope and yours were safe. View the Leadership Breakfast on the Foundation’s YouTube Channel.

Quotes of Note

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.” – Booker T. Washington

“In a free society, there should be no minimum wage law. From a philosophical perspective, such requirements interfere with the freedom of contract.” – Daniel Mitchell


A new coalition, PolicyBEST, is focusing on transportation policy in Georgia. The coalition wants the state to let counties hold their own 1-percent or less sales-tax referenda or partner with other counties of their choice, the Athens Banner-Herald reports. Current state transportation agencies would be merged, and the fourth penny of the gas tax would go to transportation. Read the proposal for transportation written by Atlanta-based Baruch Feigenbaum of the Reason Foundation here.

If at first you don’t succeed: Portland transportation officials are proposing to spend $2.3 million to buy a new streetcar from the Oregon manufacturer who failed to deliver its vehicles on time or within budget. Source: The Oregonian

Having been the first state to adopt a gas tax to fund transportation infrastructure nearly a century ago, Oregon has in recent years taken the lead among states with regard to advancing the concept that may ultimately replace the beleaguered gas tax – mileage-based road user charges. Georgia, facing the effects of declining gas tax revenues, can learn from Oregon’s experience. Source: Reason Foundation


February 26: The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast will focus on the “The Case for the Compact for a Balanced Budget,” keynoted by Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute. The 8 a.m. event at the Galleria Centre in Cobb County is open to the public; registration is $25 per person. Register by Monday, February 24, at

Taxes and spending

Affordable housing: Atlanta’s has one of the most affordable housing markets, according to a new study of 360 metropolitan markets in nine countries: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Source:

Income inequality: A new study finds that the odds of moving up the income ladder are the same today as they were 20 years ago, says the New York Times.

Raise the minimum wage? President Obama believes it will help solve income inequality. But Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman of the University of Georgia writes in Forbes magazine that, “Almost Everything You Have Been Told About The Minimum Wage Is False.”

Social impact bonds: The Reason Foundation’s Leonard Gilroy has an interesting report on social impact bonds, which are “public-private partnerships in which private philanthropic organizations, financiers, nonprofits or other nongovernmental organizations finance and implement new social service delivery models on behalf of governments under a pay-for-success contract model.” Georgia’s existing criminal justice reforms might provide a good opportunity to examine their use here.


Spending: Georgia’s austerity cuts are real, but they need to be put in context by looking at funding trends and comparisons to other states. Read our analysis here.

Funding: The Weighted Student Funding model could be the successor to QBE in Georgia. A new study shows its positive impact on student achievement.

Media and Social Media

Foundation in the News: An op-ed by Benita Dodd in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of January 28 examined the Atlanta Streetcar boondoggle.

Web site of the week: Visit, the Web site for Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, Founded in 1985, CFACT works to promote a positive voice on environment and development issues.

YouTube: The Foundation’s YouTube channel is closing in on 40,000 views. This week, watch speakers at the January 28 Leadership Breakfast discuss the status of school choice in Georgia as well as legislative hearings on civil asset forfeiture. The Foundation’s videos on juvenile justice reform and civil forfeiture reform have been viewed more than 200 times already this week!

Facebook: The Foundation’s Facebook page has 2,210 “likes.” Join us at to view daily policy news, views, updates, Quotes of Note and event photos. Ask your high school or college student to like the Foundation’s Student Outreach Scholarship page on Facebook at

Twitter: The Foundation has 1,134 followers! Get your Foundation news at

The Forum: Foundation Editor Mike Klein writes that the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association was the only group opposing legislation on civil asset forfeiture reform this week. Find this and more posts at

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Atlanta’s Icy Logjam a Beacon of Hope for The Future,” by Benita M. Dodd.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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