One of the best things about local elections is that they almost never come with TV ads. That may be the worst thing about them, too.
Georgia’s next Election Day is not in 2024. It’s next week on Tuesday, November 7. For the last three weeks, early voting has been underway. And yet, this year’s municipal elections have come with none of the buzz Georgians have grown accustomed to in recent cycles – where campaigns are usually vigorously fought over the airwaves, in the mailbox and over text messages.
Most voters probably relish the reprieve. But it’s a double-edged sword: Although they’re not being bombarded with political ads as they watch, say, the Dawgs dominate the Gators, most viewers don’t know elections are going on at all.
This year, there are municipal elections in 139 of Georgia’s 159 counties, most of them nonpartisan. The races vary: Many cities are holding mayoral and city council races. Some voters will decide whether or not to approve new local taxes for infrastructure, education and transportation. Others have school board races on the ballot.
I hope you will check out this week’s commentary on the importance of local elections from former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:
- Why proponents of big government are ready to give up on Georgia Pathways
- How Georgia’s CON laws limit healthcare providers from buying medical equipment
- Crime, economy listed as top concerns for metro Atlanta residents
- Port of Brunswick is slated to become the No. 1 port for auto and machinery volume in the U.S.
Have a great weekend,
– Kyle Wingfield
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!
Athens’ University Cancer and Blood Center (UCBC) would like to add a PET scanner to help people like Monroe resident Gary Galloway, but a Georgia law known as Certificate of Need stands in its way. The law prevents healthcare providers from adding this and other kinds of equipment without first getting state approval. The law also grants other healthcare providers the right to oppose these requests.
The state of Georgia announced that it had almost $18.5 billion of excess cash when fiscal 2023 ended June 30 – including a whopping $10.7 billion in “unreserved, undesignated” surplus beyond the state’s official reserve accounts. Conversely, the federal government closed its 2023 budget Sept. 30 with an annual deficit of some $2 trillion.
North Carolina is the latest state that borders Georgia to pass sweeping education freedom legislation. They join South Carolina and Florida which passed similar measures earlier this year. In each of those states, parents have expanded control of the education of their children.
A bipartisan panel of state and local officials expressed a strong consensus that more building and greater density is needed to supply current and future residents of Georgia with affordable housing.
The Port of Brunswick is slated to become the No. 1 port for auto and machinery volume in the U.S. In a year’s time, the port could see the first Hyundai shipment coming through its waterway. By 2030, the port could be handling 1 million units per year.
Korea-based Hwashin will invest more than $176 million in a new manufacturing facility in Dublin crafting chassis components for electric vehicles. The plant will create more than 460 jobs, supplying both Kia Georgia’s auto manufacturing facility that opened in West Point in 2009 and the Hyundai Motor Group EV plant now under construction near Savannah.
Microsoft will invest $1 billion in a data center campus in Floyd County, according to the Rome Floyd County Development Authority. The project, dubbed Project Firecracker, encompasses a 347-acre property on Huffaker Road. The authority voted to essentially act as the go-between issuing industrial revenue bonds for the project alongside a 12-year partial tax abatement.
Georgia Power usually asks state energy regulators every three years to approve the utility’s latest plan outlining the mix of energy sources it intends to rely on for power generation during the next two decades. But what the Atlanta-based utility describes as Georgia’s “extraordinary” economic growth is prompting Georgia Power to seek additional generating capacity less than a year and a half after the state approved its last Integrated Resource Plan.
An ongoing study dedicated to identifying and accessing renewable energy source options suggested switchgrass could be a contender. Switchgrass thrives in many different soil types and land conditions, reduces soil erosion, is good at storing carbon in the soil, and can grow with less water, fertilizers, and pesticides than many crops, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
A consumer advocacy organization released a new analysis highlighting how the Biden administration’s climate agenda will burden Americans with higher costs for various home appliances and everyday items. This includes ceiling fans, gas stoves, dishwashers, water heaters and refrigerators.
Crime and the economy are the most pressing concerns for the Atlanta region, the Atlanta Regional Commission reported in their annual survey. Crime topped the 2023 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, with 27% of respondents identifying it as the biggest challenge facing the region. The economy was close behind, with 24% identifying it as the biggest challenge.
Families whose loved ones were killed or are being held hostage by Hamas met with Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp on Tuesday at the State Capitol. They spoke privately with around a dozen family members of those killed or missing in Israel since the bloody conflict began on Oct. 7.
Options for school teachers to be armed, and school systems to allow it, will be considered by Georgia lawmakers. Republicans proposed a state-funded certified firearms training program for teachers as part of a proposed School Safety Initiative that they plan to introduce during next year’s legislative session.
Home prices surged to a new record high in August as the affordability crisis continues to deepen. Prices increased 0.4% nationally in the period from July to August on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index said. On an annual basis, prices are up 2.6% from their peak at the same time last year.
Despite spending months developing a new design for its proposed downtown apartment building, developer Bridger Properties received a second thumbs-down from Marietta’s Historic Board of Review. While the new design was about 30 feet shorter than a previous proposal, Councilman Johnny Walker, who serves on the historic board, wasn’t satisfied.
Atlanta ranked No. 13 nationally on Forbes Advisor’s “The Best Cities For Renters Of 2023.” They evaluated U.S. cities across 23 different metrics to uncover the best cities for renters, according to the report. Some of the metrics include the size of one- and two-bedroom apartments or condos, the median household income, the rate of crime and the share of cost-burdened renters.
The electric vehicle push at Ford and General Motors hit a speed bump that’s cutting into the automakers’ profits and causing them to reevaluate their electric vehicle plans amid a price war and supply chain challenges. Ford noted in its latest earnings report that its EV unit posted a quarterly loss of $1.33 billion – an acceleration after a loss of $1.08 billion in the prior quarter.
Wells Fargo economists warned that shoppers shouldn’t expect tremendous Thanksgiving savings even with food inflation easing. The turkey will cost less, but the overall feast isn’t likely to be any cheaper than last year, according to Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute Chief Agricultural Economist Dr. Michael Swanson.
A lawsuit has been filed in Cobb County against the Atlanta Braves and 2021 World Series MVP Jorge Soler, alleging the team’s former outfielder threw a baseball into a Truist Park crowd and struck a fan in the eye.
Quotes of the Week
“Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.” – Steve Irwin
“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.” – Leo Tolstoy
“When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.” – Viktor Frankel