Friday Facts: November 10, 2023

The debate over whether the Buckhead district of Atlanta should be allowed to separate from the city came to a head during the 2023 legislative session when bills were introduced to allow a vote on creating “Buckhead City.” Although these bills were rejected by the Senate, the discussion endures and issues remain. 

While not taking sides in the debate, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has released a report which offers a fact-based assessment of the key issues. 

This affluent district has a rich history dating back to the 19th century and has evolved significantly since its annexation by Atlanta in 1952. Known for its high property values, Buckhead also plays a vital role as a corporate and retail hub, contributing significantly to Atlanta’s revenue.

The report looks at four key issues that provide unique challenges with Buckhead. This includes public safety, land use, taxation and infrastructure. I hope you will check it out. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Gov. Kemp extends suspension of gas tax until the end of November
  • Voters in Augusta approve sales tax for a new arena
  • A push is underway to incorporate the city of Mill Creek in Gwinnett County
  • The latest stories of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

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Friday’s Freshest

Not just hospitals: Georgia CON laws also limit medical technologies

Certificate of Need laws in Georgia prevent healthcare providers from adding medical equipment without first getting state approval. They also allow other healthcare providers to oppose these requests. For Monroe resident Gary Galloway, it’s equipment he needs to live.

Georgia government employees stole Social Security funds and used taxpayer money on personal items

A claims specialist at the Social Security Administration’s field office in Decatur illegally accessed the records of six Social Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries and used them to steal more than $15,000. This story, and more, in our monthly compilation of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia.  

Why local elections matter

On Tuesday, municipal elections were held in 139 of Georgia’s 159 counties. There were mayoral and city council races, as well as decisions on  whether or not to approve new local taxes for infrastructure, education and transportation. In Augusta, a sales tax increase will fund a new arena while Warner Robins voters approved a “brunch bill.”

Original opponents of Georgia Pathways continue to oppose Georgia Pathways

After just three months, some of Georgia’s biggest cheerleaders for bigger government are ready to pull the plug on Gov. Brian Kemp’s limited expansion of Medicaid, known as Georgia Pathways. They say the program is underachieving, having enrolled fewer than 1,400 people so far. So, you know, it’s obviously time to hit the panic button!

Jim Wooten: A beacon of light

Jim’s columns and editorials for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution were path lights for an emerging conservative movement in Georgia.

The Latest


Georgia’s suspension of state gas tax extended

Gov. Brian Kemp has extended the State of Emergency that suspends the state’s excise tax on motor and locomotive fuel, until November 29. A press release from the Governor’s Office on Wednesday says they hope the continued suspension of the gas tax will deliver relief to families while the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

With or without gasoline revenue, Georgia tax collections in the red

Georgia tax collections fell an adjusted 5.7% last month compared to October of last year, the state Department of Revenue reported this week. Individual income tax and net sales tax collections last month reflect the red ink. Individual income taxes in October declined 11.8% compared to the same month last year. Net sales tax receipts fell by a less precipitous 1.6%.


Helping students learn essential skills ‘a step in the right direction’

The Joint Study Committee on Dual Enrollment for Highly Skilled Talent at Younger Ages was asked to find ways to produce more dual enrollment students and develop skilled younger workers. Among its recommendations, the committee wants lawmakers to simplify and streamline existing aspects of the Dual Enrollment. 

Earning, saving, spending: metro Atlanta students learn important financial skills

More and more states require financial literacy classes to graduate high school. Delta Community Credit Union is helping with that effort in metro Atlanta schools. Experts at Delta Community Credit Union recently visited Peeples Elementary School in Fayetteville. Nearly 500 students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades took part in mini-workshops.

Government accountability

Georgia Lt. Gov., Senate Republicans prioritize small business legislation

According to Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, proposed legislation to be introduced during the 2024 legislative session would improve the process for obtaining professional and occupational licenses while giving licensing boards more flexibility and strengthening the power of the General Assembly to oversee and review proposed state agency regulations.

Richmond County passes sales tax for new James Brown Arena

Lawmakers have been working to pass funding for a new arena for about two years in Richmond County. In a rare show of solidarity, every Augusta commissioner came out in support of the project, urging people to vote yes. The campaign worked, and more than 66% of voters said yes to the new tax, meaning that the new arena is coming.

Warner Robins approves brunch bill

Warner Robins voters approved the so-called “brunch bill,” which will allow restaurants to serve alcohol earlier, something they argue will allow them to be more competitive in the world of brunch. The proposal passed with 65% of voters in favor. 


Hamilton Mill apartments proposal sparks push to create new city in Gwinnett

Legislators are pointing to a controversial proposal to build nearly 700 apartments next to Buford’s Seckinger High School as an example of zoning matters that have sparked them to propose the creation of a new city. If approved by voters, it would immediately become one of the largest in Gwinnett County. Georgia House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, announced plans to file a bill to create the City of Mill Creek in northeast Gwinnett. 

Does Forsyth County need more residential or commercial growth? Here’s what some public officials say

During a growth and development town hall event, government officials in Forsyth County addressed the need for a balance between commercial and residential development. One commissioner outlined several specific areas of consideration that she believes will help “right the ship,” including a focus on increasing lot sizes for residential development, decreasing density and increasing commercial corridors throughout the county.

County set to update Smart Bulloch 2040 Comprehensive Plan ‘again’

A process to rewrite Bulloch County’s zoning ordinance and redraw a map was launched in the fall of 2022.That process recently concluded with an amendment to the Smart Bulloch 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Some people may feel déjà vu upon hearing that county officials are launching an overall update of the Comprehensive Plan.


Peach Pass is now accepted in six more states through agreement with E-ZPass

Drivers who use Peach Pass to access toll lanes in metro Atlanta can now use it in more states when they travel.  Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland and Rhode Island are the E-ZPass states that will now accept Peach Pass on their tollways, joining Florida and North Carolina.

Chick-fil-A to open 3,000th restaurant, will donate $300K to celebrate

Chick-fil-A will open its 3,000th restaurant this week in the RedBird neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. To commemorate the milestone, Chick-fil-A is donating $150,000 each to Feeding America and Junior Achievement.

Dalton City Council approves new city charter, sends to state legislature to ratify

The Dalton City Council voted this week to send a new charter for the city to the state legislature for approval. Dalton’s current charter is 125 pages. One reason Dalton’s charter is so long is that it includes items that other cities address through ordinances as well as sections that are out of date and conflict with current city practices. Parts of the charter are 100 years old. 

Quotes of the Week

“The military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that… we leave no veteran behind.” – Dan Lipinski

“Courage is not defined by those who fought and did not fall, but by those who fought, fell and rose again.” – Adrienne Rich

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.” – Thomas Campbell, Scottish poet

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