Friday Facts: March 15, 2019

It’s Friday!

Quotes of note

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” – Patrick Henry

“Equal laws protecting equal rights; the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.” – James Madison

“The Trump administration just delivered a massive budget to Congress. A look at the numbers and the talking points drafted to defend it confirms that budgets favor politics over policy. This also confirms that it really doesn’t really matter who is in the White House. Big spenders will spend and then dissemble to cover up their fiscal irresponsibility.” – Veronique de Rugy

We’re hiring! The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is on the lookout for an entry-level development associate. Find out more at

Kyle Wingfield (far right) joined colleagues from the Georgia Center for Opportunity and other public policy organizations at the White House this week for a meeting with Brooke Rollins of the White House Office of American Innovation. (Photo: Jennifer Butler)


Deadline: Register NOW: The deadline is Tuesday for “Shining a Light on Government,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast on Thursday, March 21, with veteran investigative reporter Richard Belcher of WSB-TV in celebration of Sunshine Week. Georgian Club in Cobb County. $30. Information and registration here.

April 10: “Education Choice: A Case Study in Policy and Politics,” a Foundation Happy Hour Policy Discussion in Athens at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, in partnership with The Arch Conservative. Speakers are Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, and Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of Economics at the University of Georgia. Hilton Garden Inn Magnolia Ballroom. $10. Information and registration here.

April 17: “Second Chances 2019,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast with Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, sponsor of the FIRST STEP Act, to celebrate Second Chance Month, on Wednesday, April 17, at the Georgian Club. $30. Information and registration here.

May 23: “You Can Say That: How Courage Can Defeat Political Correctness,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon with David French of the National Review Institute, on Thursday, May 23, at the Georgian Club. $35. Information and registration here.


Top spot: The Airports Council International’s preliminary rankings released this week declare Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport the world’s busiest passenger airport for the 21st consecutive year. In 2018, the airport served 107,394,029 passengers, a 3.33 percent increase over 2017. Beijing airport was second and Dubai was third.

Overpromise, under-deliver: A review of rail transit in Los Angeles published by the Reason Foundation demonstrates how building the rail and fixed busway system “cost considerably more than anticipated while the revenue from the multiple sales taxes passed by voters has fallen short of projections.” Additionally, despite the expansion of rail, researchers estimate transit ridership has dropped a whopping 42 percent since 1985. They note ridership is now counted by each individual “boarding” and the agency no longer reports transfers. Source:

Taxes: Uber and Lyft have argued that they are a technology service, facilitating but not providing services, and rides should not be subjected to a sales tax. Unsuccessful at legislation that would have imposed a 50-cent fee on ride-share services to fund transit, legislators are considering a bill that would require a “marketplace facilitator” to collect sales tax. It could make Georgia just the seventh state to impose a sales tax on ride-share services. Consider what Atlanta’s 8.9 percent sales tax would do to ridership, just as ride-share partnerships with public transit agencies are gaining traction.

Growing transit: Gwinnett County voters decide on March 19 whether the county should enter into a nearly 40-year contract with MARTA to take over transit services  and impose a new 1 percent sales tax to fund transit, including a potential MARTA heavy rail expansion into Gwinnett.


Completing: On average, just 58 percent of students who started college in the fall of 2012 had earned any degree six years later, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center – and that’s a 1.5 percent increase over 2011. The Institute for Higher Education Policy finds “many institutions have not adapted to serve today’s students,” who are often part-time students for whom college affordability is a major factor. Source:

Corruption: A major national scandal in higher education erupted this week as the FBI charged 50 people – wealthy celebrities and executives –  in a $25 million scheme that allegedly bribed college coaches and administrators and facilitated cheating on college entrance tests to ensure their children’s admission to prestigious universities. Source: Politico


Trading places: Georgia’s 2018 international trade numbers set a new record, with exports surpassing $40.5 billion, Gov. Brian Kemp announced this week. That’s a 9 percent increase over 2017. Total trade between Georgia and the world spanned 223 countries and territories, reaching a new high at $139.3 billion. Aerospace remains Georgia’s leading export industry, with exports totaling more than $9.1 billion.

Autocorrect? Robotics and advanced automation continue to outperform humans in the workplace, and technology workers expect to see increased job losses, according to a national study from edtech firm MindEdge/Skye Learning. More than half of U.S. managers (58 percent) say that robots perform “higher quality work” than humans and almost half (49 percent) expect that automation will lead to more job losses in the next five years. Source: Metro Atlanta CEO

Seniors own the rental market: Older Americans are increasingly choosing to rent instead of owning a home, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census data. The number of renters age 60 and older in large U.S. cities rose 43 percent from 2007-2017, RentCafe reports. A researcher at RentCafe said seniors like the flexibility and affordability that renting provides.


Social media: The Foundation’s Facebook page has 3,477 “likes” this week; our Twitter account has 1,880 followers! Join them!

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In March 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Lack of Diversity a Risk for State’s Pension Investments.” It noted, “Diversifying the asset allocation of pension funds is sound policy, sound investment management and good for current employees, retirees and taxpayers.”

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Gwinnett Transit Vote a Mixed Bag,” by Benita Dodd.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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