Friday Facts: May 17, 2024

If you’ve been following the housing market, you’ve certainly noticed a recent surge in prices. As of March 2024, homes in Atlanta were selling at a median price of $414,000. This marks a substantial increase from past years and shows no signs of slowing down​. This follows multiple years of massive price increases.

There are many ideas around what has caused this increase. It’s popular to blame real estate investors right now. However, much of this increase is not due to market forces, but rather dictated by a complex system of regulatory factors that increase costs. It is just another instance of government over-governing.

This includes a long list of fees and regulations for home builders that most buyers aren’t aware of:

  • Architectural and Development Requirements
  • Inclusionary Zoning Policies
  • Impact Fees
  • Lot and Home Size Requirements
  • Zoning and Land-Use Regulations
  • Building Code Changes and Permitting Fees
  • Administrative and Compliance Costs

The cumulative effect of these regulatory measures is a significant increase in the cost of housing in Georgia. In this week’s commentary, we look at the various regulations and fees, and how they increase the price of new homes in the Peach State.  We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Georgia tax collections fell 5.4% from April of last year
  • Atlanta ranks No.1 city for starting a career, according to consumer metrics
  • New study shows nearly half of all masters degrees aren’t worth getting
  • Biden and Trump to debate in Atlanta next month

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

America needs a sane regulatory environment

Nuclear Unit 4 at Georgia’s Plant Vogtle entered commercial operation at the end of April. It was a huge, important milestone for the people and businesses of our state, but considering new EPA rules, it may be decades before we see any new nuclear reactors constructed. 

A ritzy Mercedes, a busted mayor, and the worst Chief Financial Officer you ever saw made April a month for waste, fraud and abuse

Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labatt used taxpayer money to buy a Mercedes-Benz that cost $200,000. As reported by FOX 5 Atlanta, Labatt purchased the vehicle during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sheriff justified the purchase, saying it served as a mobile command center during “high profile situations.” That story, and more, is in our monthly waste, fraud and abuse recap. 

A day of reckoning for higher education?

Campus radicalism not only grew following the 1960s — it became institutionalized. This is common knowledge. What was not common knowledge, until recently, was how perversely and ferociously this radicalism could manifest itself beyond niche courses and departments. The new Marxism driving these twisted priorities — favoring the terrorists taking our countrymen hostage, not to mention seeking to wipe an ally of ours off the face of the Earth — sprung directly from the new campus radicals.

Georgia brewers say they’d have more success…in North Carolina

Georgia has slightly more than 11 million residents and, according to Georgia Craft Brewers Guild Executive Director Joseph Cortes, about 170 breweries. North Carolina has slightly fewer residents, 10.8 million, but has more than twice as many breweries, around 420. So why does North Carolina have so many more breweries?

What does the FTC’s ban on non compete clauses mean for healthcare? 

The Federal Trade Commission recently voted to approve a new final rule banning non-compete agreements across the entire economy with very limited exceptions. How will this impact healthcare, where non-competes are common?

The Latest


State tax revenues fall again

Georgia tax collections continued their downward spiral last month, falling 5.4% from April of last year, the state Department of Revenue reported last week. With tax receipts down $341.3 million for fiscal 2024 and just two months left in the fiscal year, it appears likely the state will show revenues down when the year ends on June 30.

Atlanta ranks No.1 city for starting a career, according to consumer metrics

The consumer website WalletHub compared 182 cities based upon professional opportunities and quality of life to determine ranks for its list of the Best and Worst Places for Starting a Career. Atlanta ranked No. 1 while New York City, at No. 182, occupied the bottom slot on the list.

Atlanta inflation report shows metro area slightly higher than national average

The latest Consumer Price Index for Atlanta shows inflation in the area was a single point above the national average for February, according to the most recent data available for the metro Atlanta area. For the Atlanta area, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said inflation was 3.3% from Feb. 2023 to Feb. 2024.


Nearly half of all masters degrees aren’t worth getting

Is college worth it? Well, it depends on what degree you’re getting and where you’re getting it, according to a new paper from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, an economic opportunity think tank. While most bachelor’s degrees have a positive return on investment, according to the paper, master’s and associate degrees are much riskier bets—with many costing students in the long run.

Georgia State sends out 1,500 mistaken acceptance letters, retracts them

Hundreds of high school students who were anticipating attending Georgia State University received a surprise when their acceptance letters were revoked. About 1,500 students received an acceptance letter from the university last week. But the university said that the students, who had incomplete applications, received the letter by mistake.

Georgia Power hosts ‘Energy Exchange, Careers in Energy Exposure Day’ for Middle Georgia high school students

About 90 high school students in Bibb and Jones counties participated in Georgia Power’s, “Energy Exchange, Careers in Energy Exposure Day.” Dr. Melissa Middlebrooks, the Education and Workforce Development Coordinator at Georgia Power, says the event shows students different career opportunities they may not have thought about before.

Government accountability

Gwinnett County to vote on property tax relief measures

Gwinnett County voters will soon decide whether local homeowners will receive additional tax relief in the coming years. Referendums on the ballot would double the homestead exemption for all homeowners in the county and create an extra homestead exemption for law enforcement and other public servants. 

Lawsuit filed over Savannah’s new gun ordinance

A Georgia man is suing the City of Savannah this month over its enactment of an ordinance that deals with the secure storage of firearms in vehicles and the reporting of stolen weapons in the city. The civil suit was filed in Chatham County Superior Court by Attorney John R. Monroe on behalf of Jesup resident Clarence Belt.

Anonymous $3K donation to mayoral candidate Shekita Maxwell raises legal questions

Georgia’s State Ethics Commission is looking into Macon-Bibb County mayoral candidate Shekita Maxwell after she reported an anonymous donation on her most recent campaign contribution disclosure report. If true, that would be against the state’s campaign finance law, according to a deputy director for the ethics commission.


MARTA considering $654.5M operating budget for fiscal 2025

MARTA officials are weighing a proposed $654.5 million operating budget for fiscal year 2025. The budget anticipates roughly $386.5 million in sales tax revenue, nearly $82 million in passenger revenue and $80 million in federal operating assistance. The $654.5 million operating expenses are roughly $23 million more than the agency’s fiscal 2024 budget.

17 states, including Georgia, sue to block California rule requiring ZEV trucking

A 17 state coalition is suing California for creating ZEV standards for trucking fleets that set down even a single tire in California, saying the state’s rule violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. California’s Advanced Clean Fleets regulation requires that commercial vehicles, even heavy-duty big rigs, be zero emission by 2042.

One cent for better roads? Southeast Georgia voters face question on sales tax for transportation

Voters in 18 south Georgia counties face a question this May about whether or not to extend a one-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects across the region. The Transportation Investment Act question appears on the May 21 primary ballot in Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Pierce and Ware counties, among others. 


Biden, Trump to debate next month in Atlanta

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will participate in a debate June 27 at CNN’s studios in Atlanta, the network announced this week. The 9 p.m. debate will be aired live by CNN, CNN International, CNN en Español, CNN Max, and with no audience present, a highly unusual arrangement for presidential debates.

Proposed Rome ordinance requires licensing for gaming machines

The owners of gaming machines, colloquially referred to as ding ding machines, would have a year to comply with a proposed Rome ordinance partially regulating the businesses that operate them. The ordinance would apply to all locations in the city that have Georgia Lottery regulated Class B coin operated amusement machines, COAMs for short.

Board of Regents approves construction of new GSU baseball facility

The Georgia State Panther Baseball team could soon have a new home in Downtown Atlanta after the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia gave the go-ahead to construct a new baseball stadium on its campus. The planned 1,000-seat stadium will be in the footprint of the former Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Quotes of the Week

“Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.” – Horace Greeley

”The less talent they have, the more pride, vanity and arrogance they have. All these fools, however, find other fools who applaud them.” – Erasmus

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

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