May 23: THE DEADLINE IS TUESDAY! Register now for “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. Georgian Club. $35. Information and registration here.
Mark your calendar! The 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum will take place on Friday, November 15. Details to follow; click here to view video coverage of previous events.
Quotes of note
“May 17, 2019, marks the 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. … Popular names associated with this historic decision – Thurgood Marshall, Daisy Bates, Earl Warren, and Kenneth Clarke – will receive a lot of accolades today, and rightfully so. We must also celebrate hundreds of other people whose personal and professional sacrifices made this day a reality for millions of schoolchildren, regardless of race or region.” – Gerard Robinson
“Offering teachers retirement security is one way to attract more qualified people into the profession. But, if retirement benefits are not properly structured, they can create problems that undermine the quality of education. Promising retirement benefits and then not properly funding them is a false economy.” – Marc Joffe
“The middle class, according to Brookings, accounts for 23 percent of the central city population – half the level of 1970, eliminating the political ballast that tethered cities to reality. As cities become dominated by the ultra-rich, hipsters, singles and the poor, they have shifted to a far-Left politics at odds with the rest of the country.” – Joel Kotkin
Perspective: While graduation rates in Louisiana and New Orleans were below the national average of 85 percent in 2018, the rate of improvement has outpaced the rest of the nation since 2012. The Advocate reports graduation rate rose 9.1 percentage points over that period, compared with 4.6 percentage points nationally. Public high schools in New Orleans awarded diplomas to nearly 78 percent of eligible seniors in 2018, up from nearly 73 percent a year earlier. Read “10 Reasons New Orleans’s Schools Are Succeeding,” by The74Million.org.
Electric vehicles: U.S. Senate legislation to extend the federal electric vehicle tax credit could cost taxpayers up to $16 billion over the next decade, according to an Ernst & Young report. The Driving America Forward Act would extend the tax credit of up to $7,500 per vehicle, which is set to expire this year due to rising electric vehicle sales. More than 75 percent of tax credit recipients make more than $100,000 per year, according to the Congressional Research Service, and more Teslas receive subsidies than any other EVs. Teslas’ average price is $60,000.
Energy and environment
Powered up: Georgia Power Co. reports that Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle nuclear plant near Augusta is now permanently powered up. This will allow for testing of the nuclear reactor – the first of two additional reactors under construction at Vogtle – which is slated to go online in November 2021. Both reactors are scheduled to be online by May 2022. Source: News reports
Enlightening: LED lights can permanently damage the retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, according to the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES). In a 400-page report, the agency warned powerful LED lights are “photo-toxic” and urged officials to revise the maximum limit for exposure to LED lights, which emit “blue light” at much higher quantities.
Rural heavyweights: If you thought fast-food restaurants are to solely blame for the obesity epidemic in America, think again. A new study finds Americans in rural areas are gaining weight at a faster pace than city dwellers – at a rate as much as 60 percent higher, according to the study, published in the journal Nature. Researchers suggested mechanization, automobiles and availability of processed foods may play a role in their higher body mass index.
DPC success: In 2015, county government employees in Union County, N.C., were offered a direct primary care (DPC) health benefit option. The John Locke Foundation examined 2018 data and found a 99 percent satisfaction rate among DPC participants, monthly costs of 26 percent less per member than employees covered by the alternative, a consumer-driven plan with a health reimbursement account. They reported spending almost double the time with their DPC physicians than with their traditional plan physicians, and 79 percent of employees reported their health has improved since participating in DPC. Legislation facilitating direct primary care in Georgia was signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp on April 25.
Evolving expectations: Nearly 90 percent of consumers say they look for digital tools and a strong online presence when selecting a medical provider, according to a survey by Black Book Market Research.
Foundation in the news: The Red and Black quoted Kyle Wingfield in an article about 2019 Georgia bills Gov. Brian Kemp was likely to sign.
Social media: The Foundation’s Facebook page has 3,497 “likes” this week; our Twitter account has 1,895 followers! Join them!
This month in the archives: In May 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Georgia Deserves Fair Share of Highway Funds.” It noted, “D.C.-based central-planning and financial management made sense back in 1956, when the sole task of the new federal program was to build the interstate highway system coast to coast and border to border. But that task was completed in the mid-1980s. Since then, the highway program has become little more than a piggy bank for special interests, outrageous earmarks and wealthy states.” We’re still waiting for greater local control of federal dollars.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “An Education on Public Charter Schools in Georgia,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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