Friday Facts: May 31, 2024

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Speaker Jon Burns recently announced the creation of a joint Blue-Ribbon Committee to look into reported issues with the Secretary of State’s Professional Licensing Boards Division.

This task could open the door for necessary reforms that make it easier to work and start a business in Georgia. The state is rightly considered one of the best in the country to do business. Georgia’s economy remains robust and the state remains a top target for newcomers, averaging about 1 million new residents per decade. This isn’t by accident, but because of sound economic policy decisions over the course of decades. 

However, one area where the state lags behind its competitors is occupational licensing. Occupational licensing, while often enforced in the name of safety, is just as often arbitrary and frequently does far more harm than good.

“License to Work” is a 2022 nationwide study from the Institute for Justice on how occupational licensing laws affect labor and freedom. In this week’s commentary, we look at how Georgia did in this nationwide report and the potential for reform. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • North Georgia has the lowest unemployment numbers in the state
  • Georgia Senate committees to probe safe firearm storage, artificial intelligence
  • Hartsfield-Jackson sees record-breaking travel numbers over holiday weekend
  • Cracker Barrel CEO planning changes after saying restaurant chain is no longer relevant

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

All eyes will be on Georgia this fall

There will be no “permanent majority,” even if each party takes turns forecasting one for itself. Instead, we have lived through two of the more tumultuous political decades in American history. Such tumult calls for humility among its participants. That may be a lost cause in Washington, but it still mostly prevails in Georgia.

How does government policy increase the cost of housing?

If you’ve been following the housing market, you’ve certainly noticed a recent surge in prices. Or a continued surge. 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. We break down the various fees and regulations that add more than 25% to the cost of a new home. 

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 it may be decades before we see any new nuclear reactors constructed. 

A day of reckoning for higher education?

Many regular Americans are paying tens of thousands of dollars per year to send their children to college campuses, only to watch as they are either obstructed from attending class or, worse, are radicalized themselves. Mountains of student debt – and the taxpayer-funded forgiveness of said debt – did not produce sufficient will to reform today’s radical campuses. But their moral inversion just might do it.

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?

The Latest


Georgia regional commissions see unemployment rates decrease

Georgia’s Regional Commissions saw their unemployment rates tick downward in April. Statewide, the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, which includes 13 counties around Gainesville and the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, reported the lowest unemployment rate at 2.3% in April, up from 2.1% last year.

Company to expand medical manufacturing operations in Peachtree City, add 400 jobs

Pharma and biotech company Gerresheimer said it plans to expand its manufacturing footprint in Peachtree City. Through a roughly $180 million investment, Gerresheimer said it will be expanding its footprint in the metro Atlanta area, starting in Peachtree City, by adding 194,000 square feet of space and creating more than 400 new jobs.


Raises approved for presidents at GA public colleges and universities

The University System of Georgia approved raises for all of the system’s institutional presidents for the 2025 fiscal year. That means all 26 presidents of the Georgia public higher education system will receive what officials called a cost of living adjustment to their salaries. According to USG, the highest-paid president for 2024 will be Jere Morehead at the University of Georgia.

Are poor schools underfunded? It’s more complex than you’d think.

One of the most persistent myths in K-12 education is the idea that high-poverty schools are near-universally, significantly underfunded. However, the truth is much more complicated. As it turns out, poor districts get more money in almost every state—and school spending has an incredibly weak relationship with school quality in the first place.

Government accountability

Augusta commissioners react to decision to grant mayor a vote

In a little more than a month, Mayor Garnett Johnson will be saying yes or no to any item coming before commissioners, which is something no mayor has done before. That is because seven out of 10 Augusta voters recently said yes to giving the mayor a vote. Despite the broad public support, the mayor vote bitterly divided commissioners. 

Georgia Senate committees to probe safe firearm storage, artificial intelligence

A series of Georgia Senate study committees will probe hot-button issues, ranging from safe firearm storage to preserving Georgia’s farmlands to artificial intelligence. Lt. Governor Burt Jones appointed members to seven 2024 Senate Study Committees. The committees will make recommendations that could guide lawmakers’ actions during next year’s legislative session.


Bogart mayor says building moratorium is good for the city

Bogart Mayor Janet Jones said at the May 13 council meeting that Bogart’s current building moratorium aims to be “in more alignment unified with Oconee County” by adopting updated ordinances. The council will hold another ordinance workshop to ensure requested ordinance changes align with the county. Jones said the building moratorium is expected to lift in August of this year.

Gwinnett County providing affordable options for first-time homeowners

It can be difficult to find starter homes for first-time homeowners in this housing market. But in Gwinnett County, some new developments are trying to tackle the housing shortage. At the Forkview development near Lawrenceville, 21 homes are slated to be finished by the summer for first-time buyers. These are some of the 1,100 affordable housing units in development in the county.


Cracker Barrel CEO says restaurant chain has lost relevancy

Cracker Barrel, America’s iconic “old country store,” could soon see changes as the new CEO eyes ways to make the company “more relevant” amid slipping stocks and declines among its loyal clientele over the past few years. What does that mean for customers? A fresh image and new menu items are some things to anticipate. 

Hartsfield-Jackson sees record-breaking travel numbers over holiday weekend

Memorial Day Weekend marked the beginning of a busy summer season at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Crowds have returned to normal summer levels after a record-breaking 111,000 travelers were screened at the airport last Thursday. It’s estimated nearly 2.4 million people moved through the airport over the weekend, despite delays from storms across the country.

How Costco is thriving despite tough economic challenges

Numerous retail executives have continuously reiterated how tough economic conditions continue to strain consumer budgets, leading to dampened discretionary spending and prompting companies to cut prices just to drive in-store and online traffic. But Costco continues to see an increase in traffic year over year. 

Quotes of the Week

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” – James Cameron

“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.” – Ronald Reagan

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

« Previous Next »