Friday’s Freshest: Georgians are faced with serious problems that affect their daily lives, their futures and their children’s futures. Some of them are urgent and require attention and action. However, as we work to improve our lives here, we should maintain perspective on what we have to be thankful for. In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield reminds us to have gratitude for our unique blessings and encourages us to take on our responsibilities dutifully and without excuses.
Quotes of Note
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” –William Arthur Ward
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” Ernest Hemingway
“After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” –Oscar Wilde
On Our Desks
An impactful study: The Foundation has released the first part of its study on Georgia’s development impact fees. Georgia residents can see whether their local governments are levying extra costs on development to fund infrastructure growth. Readers outside those jurisdictions may find they have something else to be thankful for! In his commentary,Research Fellow J.Thomas Perdue summarizes the new study and how impact fees can affect housing costs. Access the full study here!
We’ve got issues: The election may be… almost over, but the Foundation’s 2022 Guide to the Issues is here to stay! Guide to the Issues is our biennial resource that outlines our positions and policy recommendations on Georgia’s most important issues. You can read J.Thomas Perdue’s commentary on the purpose and contents of this year’s edition, and access the full study here!
Save the date: The setting for the Foundation’s annual Georgia Freedom Dinner has been announced. The dinner will take place on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Table sponsorships are available. Please contact us here for more information.
(Non) working man blues: According to analysis from the Georgia Center for Opportunity, which was covered by The Center Square, 454,100 Georgians are not in the labor force and have effectively given up on work. Despite Georgia’s unemployment rate being down a bit since the beginning of the year, a large number of eligible citizens (not including retirees, students or full-time caregivers) are missing from the workforce. The same analysis showed that 208,600 Georgians are officially unemployed and 147,900 are currently working part-time but seeking full-time employment.
Empty tanks: The world could be on the brink of a shortage of diesel fuel in the next few months, according to Yahoo! Finance. The toll could be enormous given that supply shortages in nearly all the world’s energy markets have worsened inflation and stifled growth. Effects could be felt from the price of a Thanksgiving turkey to home heating bills this winter. In the United States, stockpiles of diesel fuel and heating oil are at their lowest point ever for this time of year, according to data going back four decades.
Some of the story: The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) released its annual College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) with some caveats. Usually, the CCRPI is a useful report card that gives out a single score for public schools’ performance. This year, however, data are limited due to a waiver given to Georgia due to “data limitations resulting from the pandemic.” Despite limitations, WABE Atlanta reports that the DOE did determine student performance in content mastery, readiness and graduation rates. In June, the Foundation expressed dissatisfaction with the waiver, noting that the eschewing of the single score metric in the name of the pandemic was an unnecessary step that does not accurately reflect student performance, nor does it sufficiently hold Georgia’s public schools accountable for that performance.
File not found: Despite prioritizing the removal of blight over the past several years, DeKalb County’s progress on that front is difficult to measure, to say the least. By the county’s admission, its database of code enforcement cases is “inaccurate [and] unverified” thanks to mistakes in its code compliance department’s data collection system, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Tens of thousands of pages of records were reported to be disorganized, with some mislabeled, misfiled or outright missing. For example, DeKalb claimed 144 multifamily property demolitions since the county’s current CEO took office, but the AJC found the properties to be individual condominium units. Transparency is also reported to be an issue in tracking code cases through the DeKalb magistrate court, which does not provide a way for the public to view records on demand.
South got something to say: Metro Atlanta’s housing market has witnessed three turbulent years. But, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, consensus is growing about the area poised for the most growth in the next year: the Southside. Investment has lagged in the southeastern portion of the city and in Atlanta’s southern suburbs. That is changing as land becomes scarce in other parts of the metro area. Southside ZIP codes — particularly those in Clayton County — have seen the biggest growth in home values since the start of the pandemic. The Southside’s history of being undervalued, the paper went on to say, is what makes it a likely candidate to be metro Atlanta’s hot market going forward.
Real estate see-saw: Rents in the Atlanta metro area are dropping as the cost of mortgages soars, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The median residential rent dropped by 2.2% from October a year ago, and September’s was 4.5% lower than September 2021, a far cry from the rental bidding wars seen in early 2022. Meanwhile, the median mortgage payment was a whopping 50% higher in October 2022 than a year ago. This year, October saw the lowest number of real estate closings since 2011, and new home listings declined by 19% from the previous year. For most of the metro area, renting is cheaper than owning on a monthly basis.
Work requirements: Georgia is set to become the only state to have work requirements for Medicaid coverage, according to Kaiser Health News. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s reelection — and a surprising Biden administration decision not to appeal a federal court ruling during its 60-day window — have freed the state to introduce its plan to allow for a limited increase in the pool of low-income residents eligible for Medicaid. This would set up Georgia as a test case for a work provision proposed by several states and struck down in federal courts and by the Biden administration.
Addressing healthcare shortages: The University of Georgia College of Public Health’s Institute for Disaster Management and Institute for Gerontology has launched an initiative to increase the number of certified nursing assistants in the state to combat a shortage, according to The Red & Black. In September, the Foundation released a study that explored the benefits of full practice authority for nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other specialists to address Georgia’s healthcare disparities.
Kyle Wingfield FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our website at georgiapolicy.org.