Quotes of note
“Since there is no such entity as ‘the public,’ since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that ‘the public interest’ supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.” – Ayn Rand
“A father carries pictures where his money used to be.” – Steve Martin
“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” – Coretta Scott King
On Our Desks
Turnout: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield examines some claims and facts surrounding new voting laws and the turnout in last month’s midterm elections.
Trouble brewing: Georgia craft brewers are running a 21st-century industry under Prohibition-era laws. In his first investigative report for the Foundation, Christopher Butler dives into the beer laws that are brewing trouble for this booming industry.
AAA: Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week that Georgia has again secured a AAA rating from each of the three main credit rating agencies: FitchRatings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global Ratings. Just nine states that issue general obligation bonds currently meet this standard. Georgia’s upcoming bond sale will fund $754 million in capital projects and, if interest rates permit, also refund outstanding bonds to achieve debt service savings on a portion of the state’s outstanding debt. The Peach State’s AAA ratings will enable the state to sell its bonds at the lowest possible interest costs when it takes bids on June 22.
This middle-aged house: A new report from the National Association of Homebuilders indicates that a new boom in home remodeling lies ahead because the median age of homes in the U.S. has reached 39 years, reports Realtor Magazine. More than half of owner-occupied homes were built before 1980, and about 38% predate 1970. New construction has not kept pace with the growing demand. According to a 2021 survey by LendingHome, almost 50% of homeowners plan to upgrade or remodel within the next year.
Anybody home? According to Atlanta Civic Circle, Mayor Andre Dickens could name a leader for his new Affordable Housing Strike Force within the next month. The strike force is tasked with engaging nonprofits and developers to construct and refurbish affordable homes in the city. Meanwhile, the cabinet-level position of Chief Housing Officer has been vacant since December 2020.
Gone phishing: A phishing scam has cost taxpayers in Floyd County hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to FOX 5 Atlanta. Floyd County School Board officials said the district was the victim of a cyberattack that’s now under investigation by local and state law enforcement agencies. School officials inadvertently wired almost $200,000 to what they thought was a contractor they’d worked with previously, and now they’re working with their insurance to recover the money.
Approved: The Oconee County School District says its new budget will be funded with the county’s lowest school millage rate this century, according to WGAU. The school board this week approved a $90.1 million school spending plan that includes $2.2 million in salary increases. The budget includes a quarter-mill reduction in the Oconee County property tax rate.
MARTA money: MARTA’s board has approved a $1.3 billion budget for 2023, according to the Center Square. Of that $1.3 billion, $717 million will fund capital expenses like “State of Good Repair” initiatives, station rehabilitation and new railcars.
Waitlisted: People arrested in Georgia may wait months for a “forensic evaluation” if they have severe mental illness, according to Georgia Health News. After being evaluated, they must be treated until they reach the legal standard of being able to participate in their own defense, and the wait to begin treatment can take a year or more. In Georgia, 368 people found incompetent are waiting in jail to begin treatment, and over 900 await the initial evaluation. Nationally, more than 2 million people with serious mental illness are jailed, often for non-violent “nuisance” crimes.
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