The 2023 edition of the Georgia legislature includes more than its fair share of unknowns. Or as we say in the South, it will be as clear as mud. Gov. Brian Kemp was re-elected to a second term last fall, but the state House and the state Senate underwent major shake ups.
For the first time since 2009, the House of Representatives will be led by a speaker other than David Ralston, who passed away last fall. House Republicans voted to nominate Jon Burns, an agribusinessman from the town of Newington in southeast Georgia. Legislators are expected to confirm him as speaker once they convene next week. The Senate will feature a new leadership slate led by Burt Jones, a former state senator from Jackson, who will assume the gavel as lieutenant governor.
Beyond the structural changes, the state’s finances remain exceptional, with questions revolving around how to return part of the $6 billion surplus to taxpayers. Along with that, additional questions remain about if the new legislature will tackle longstanding issues like Certificate of Need repeal or school choice expansion, as well as the rising costs of housing.
Quotes of Note
“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each year find you a better man.” –Benjamin Franklin
“Work ethic is important because, unlike intelligence, athleticism, charisma, or any other natural attribute, it’s a choice.” –Mike Rowe
“Few skills are so well rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims.” –Thomas Sowell
Looking back on the year that was, 2022 left a lasting mark on Georgia’s policymaking world in several ways.
Lawmakers lowered what Georgian’s owe in income tax by about $1 billion per year. But the plan doesn’t begin until 2024.
Catch up on the newest reports of government waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the Peach State, as documented in December.
The state’s transportation policy goals must prioritize improving mobility and relieving congestion.
Save the date: Georgia Freedom Dinner
The Foundation’s annual Georgia Freedom Dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. You can register here. Table sponsorships are also available. Please contact us here for more information.
Putting Patients First
Our Chris Denson will participate in an event hosted by Americans For Prosperity – Georgia outlining the need to repeal Georgia’s Certificate of Need law. The event will also include U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick and State Sen. Greg Dolezal and will be held at the Forsyth Conference Center in Cumming on January 27 beginning at 7 p.m.
Georgia added more than 200,000 residents since the beginning of the pandemic, according to new Census data. Only four states – Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona – added more.
The Atlanta City Council is considering a proposal to offer rebates to city residents who use e-bikes, which are bicycles that run on electric power as well as pedaling. The rebates could run anywhere between $600 and $6,000.
National School Choice Week 2023, happening January 22-28, 2023, will include 1,039 educational events and activities in Georgia planned by schools, homeschool organizations, parent groups, and educators.
The choice of schools in Georgia will grow as Chesterton Academy of Atlanta will open its doors in Cobb County as a new classical high school next fall. With more than 40 Chesterton Academies nationwide, it will be the first in Georgia.
State Inspector General Scott McAfee said more than 280 full-time state employees erroneously received the payments in 2020 or 2021. The payments averaged roughly $23,700 per employee.
The Center for Economic Accountability knocked the $1.5 billion Rivian deal in Morgan County for including insufficient due diligence, speculative returns, lack of concern for local impacts and a convoluted structure in a historic year for corporate welfare megadeals.
On a monthly basis, housing prices dropped 0.2% nationwide as rising mortgage rates continued to sap demand from the housing market.
But more locally, Atlanta topped the National Association of Realtors’ list of markets to watch next year based on its performance in 10 key metrics—including housing affordability, employment conditions and population growth—when compared to the national average.