Friday Facts: May 4, 2012

It’s Friday!


– May 23: Ahead of Georgia’s July 31 regional referendum on a penny transportation sales tax, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation hosts a Leadership Breakfast at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 23, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. Reason Foundation transportation policy analyst Baruch Feigenbaum will unveil a study focusing on the transportation project list for metro Atlanta and discuss “Getting Georgia Going” into congestion relief and mobility. This event will cost $25 to attend. Register at:

June 27: Mark your calendar for a Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club with Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, focusing on his soon-to-be-released book, “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.”
– September 21: Save the date! The Foundation’s third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing will be held in Atlanta on Friday, September 21 at the Renaissance Waverly hotel. Past events have featured Wall Street Journal editorial board member Steve Moore, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.


– “Anyone may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible. He is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.” – Judge Learned Hand
– “All the government can do is subsidize some industries while jacking up costs for others. It is destroying jobs in the conventional energy sector – and most likely in other industrial sectors – through taxes and subsidies to new green companies that will use taxpayer dollars to undercut the competition. The subsidized jobs ‘created’ are, by definition, less efficient uses of capital than market-created jobs.” – Kenneth Green, American Enterprise Institute  
Health care

 Medical malpractice fail: Despite this nation’s expensive litigation system, you are just as likely to be a victim of a medical error today as you were three decades ago. If you are injured by a medical error today, your chances are less than 1-in-100 of receiving compensation for your injuries. If you are poor or elderly, your chances are even lower. Click here to learn about an innovative solution for Georgia.

– By the numbersU.S. health spending per capita now equals 30 percent of median income. Source: The Incidental Economist



– Taking sides on T-SPLOST: Numerous groups are coalescing to announce their support or opposition to the penny regional transportation sales tax (T-SPLOST) coming up for a vote on July 31. Until this week, two main groups were promoting the tax and the regional list of projects in metro Atlanta: Transform Metro Atlanta (Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network) and Untie Atlanta (Citizens for Transportation Mobility). The Georgia Chamber of Commerce is taking a statewide role in educating voters. Those opposed include Tea Party groups, the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, the DeKalb NAACP, the Transportation Leadership Coalition and the Sierra Club(Don’t forget to register at soon for the Foundation’s upcoming event on the T-SPLOST.)


Energy and Environment

– Strong-arm tactics: The Environmental Protection Agency’s regional administrator for Texas and surrounding states resigned this week after video footage showed him comparing the EPA’s enforcement philosophy to the ancient Roman practice of using public crucifixions to cow the populace in conquered territories. Benita Dodd linked to the video in her commentary last week, “Don’t Hide Energy Innovation Under a Bushel.” The Washington Examiner noted the comments fit the pattern of the agency’s “disturbing overreach,” adding, “Increasingly, the EPA has employed intimidation, threats and punitive action outside the fundamental restraints on the exercise of federal powers guaranteed by the Constitution.”

 Higher prices again: An estimated 50 percent of East Coast refinery capacity is predicted to shut down in June thanks to the EPA’s regulatory restrictions on new refinery plant construction and upgrades, along with others that discourage Gulf Coast suppliers from piping gas into to this fuel-starved region. The Energy Department warns that the resulting shortage will cause pump prices to spike and, “While the short-term effects of the idled Philadelphia-area refineries will be concentrated in the Central Atlantic, their long-term impacts will be more evenly spread throughout the entire East Coast.” Source:


– Modernizing education: Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order this week creating a task force to implement digital learning in Georgia’s K-12 schools. “Students need to develop technical literacy in order to attain 21st-century skills and become competitive in the global marketplace, and our state will invest in that education,” said Deal. “We must increase the quality and quantity of our digital learning opportunities to ensure that our students are college or career ready.” To get an idea of the impact of digital learning, watch this video where a former Georgian, Rick Ogston, has created Carpe Diem High School, a successful school in New Mexico. Magic Johnson won’t let students drop the ball, either: He was in Atlanta last week to talk about adigital learning solution to reduce Georgia’s dropout rate.

– School choice: Home values are $205,000 higher, on average, in neighborhoods with high-scoring public schools versus schools with low scores, according to a new report issued by the Brookings Institution. Low-income families often can’t afford to move into these neighborhoods, meaning public charter schools with broad attendance zones play an important role in providing all students with the ability to access a quality educationSource:

Taxes and spending

– Conventional wisdom fact check: Conventional wisdom is that Georgia’s transportation spending is among the lowest in the nation and K-12 education spending has been decimated by years of “austerity cuts.” We used the latest Census Bureau data for state and local government (FY 2009) and measured spending as a percentage of personal income to offset cost of living differences among the states. Georgia’s highway spending ranks 47th. On a per capita basis, Florida is outspending Georgia by more than $1 billion on maintenance and construction of highways, for example. In K-12 education, Georgia ranks eighth in operational spending and fifth in capital spending. On a per capita basis, Georgia is outspending both Florida and North Carolina by about $4 billion a year.

– OPM: The United States redistributes wealth at a faster pace than any other advanced nation on Earth, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Social media
– This week in The Forum: Forum editor Mike Klein asked Governor Nathan Deal who’s the executive in charge of criminal justice reform?  Foundation VP Benita Dodd discussed whyinnovation is getting the upper hand in energy, and in Checking Up on Health, Benita wrote about why states including Georgia are taking a wait-and-see approach to health care policy. The Forum also said Cherokee Charter Academy was the perfect location for Governor Deal to sign House Bill 797 and push back against critics of school choice in Georgia. The Forum explained why this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on an immigration law case could have an impact on the Georgia agricultural industry. Read these and other recent Foundation articles on The Forum at

– YouTubeClick here to watch the criminal justice reform signing ceremony. Click here to watch the House Bill 797 state charter schools signing ceremony. Click here to watch Governor Deal receive the 2012 Champion for Charters Award from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools.
– Twitter: The Foundation has more than 650 Twitter followers. Follow us at
– Facebook: The Foundation’s Facebook page has daily policy updates and event photo albums. Join more than 1,560 friends of freedom at by “liking” us and get your policy news first!

– Visit to read our commentary, “Why Penalize Georgia Families for Buying Health Insurance?”


Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen


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