Friday Facts: November 5th, 2010

It’s Friday!



It’s not too late to register for the Georgia Legislative Policy Briefing on Saturday, Nov. 13. This daylong event features dozens of national and statewide experts on the top issues facing the state’s elected officials. Don’t miss a day of dynamic speakers and innovative ideas, sponsored by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute. Click here and reserve your spot now! Keynote speakers are former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise on, “The Power of Digital Learning for Georgia and the Country,” and the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore on, “How to Make Georgia the Most Economically Competitive State in the Nation.” Find out more here:

– “Removing the snake from the garden with a stick was a rejection of the snake, but should not be seen as particularly an endorsement of the stick – except as the closest available tool with which to eject the snake. The stick should not be seen as a substitute snake. That was the tone after the election in which there was a general agreement that the election was a broad and deep repudiation of the president’s policies and administration, while also not being an endorsement of the GOP.” – Tony Blankley


What’s happening at the Foundation

– Mark your calendar: Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, recently named to the Digital Learning Council, will keynote “ABCs+D = The Virtual Success of Digital Learning, a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon at noon on Tuesday, December 7, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. The cost to attend is $35. For information and to register, click on this link:

– Join The Forum, an interactive community of Georgians discussing the issues of greatest concern with the Foundation’s experts. Register and start discussing at

– Are we going green or saving green? Your choice! The Georgia Policy Review, the Foundation’s newsletter, has been relaunched as a digital version. Read the fall 2010 edition at



– Nathan Deal, who was elected governor of Georgia this week, has announced that his transition team will be led by Rogers Wade, the Foundation’s former president and current chairman of the Foundation’s board of trustees. Three of the four transition team members are current or former Foundation board members: Wade, Philip Wilheit and John Watson. The fourth member is Pete Robinson.

– Truth in numbers: Georgians voted this week on a constitutional amendment that would fund expanded statewide trauma care with a new mandatory annual vehicle tag fee. An advocacy group, Yes2SaveLives, claimed the fund would raise $80 million per year, based on $10 per vehicle and some 8 million registered vehicles in Georgia. ButFoundation editor Mike Klein broke the story that the proper number to reference is 5.5 million vehicles, according to the state Department of Revenue. That would have raised $55 million per year, not the $80 million cited by Yes2SaveLives.

– Drawing the line on gerrymandering: Voters in California, Florida and Minnesota embraced redistricting reform ballot measures on Election Day, sending a strong message that they are fed up with party leaders and incumbents hand-picking their own districts. California voters strongly rejected a proposal to eliminate an independent redistricting commission, while also voting to expand its scope to draw congressional boundaries. Florida voters approved two ballot amendments that set new rules for redrawing legislative and congressional districts, requiring that both be compact, equal in population and make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries. Minnesotans approved a referendum that removes political parties from the redistricting process. Political parties will no longer be able to directly appoint people to the redistricting commission. A judge will do that using an application process. Source: Common Cause

– Who’s new? The Hill has published a guide to the new members of Congress. Access it here:


Taxes and spending

– Since 2001, federal spending per household has been on an upward trajectory, deviating from its historical average: In 1985 the federal government spent 36 percent of the average household’s income; by 2009 this number had skyrocketed to 49 percent. For context, the mean household income in 2009 was $67,976; at $32,934 per household, government spending represented 48.4 percent of the average American household’s income in 2009. Source: Mercatus Center

– The new Congress could implement federal budget cuts totaling up to $343 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation report. Many of the cuts fall into six areas: empowering state and local governments; consolidating duplicative programs; privatization; targeting programs more precisely; eliminating outdated and ineffective programs, and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse.

– In the red over going green: Massachusetts imposes 25 unique green energy mandates and programs upon consumers and businesses. Focusing on only the impacts to ratepayers, not taxpayers, the Beacon Hill Institute examined the costs of 11 of those 25 mandates and programs. It found that by 2020 the green energy policies for renewable energy and energy efficiency will raise electricity rates over 2.6 cents per kilowatt hour. These policies will cost an average household $1,582. The cost to an average commercial business will be $15,559 and $141,255 to an average industrial business. From 2010 through 2020 the total cost of the green energy mandates, programs and incentives will be $9.8 billion (in 2010 dollars).


– Visit to read the Foundation’s latest Issue Analysis, “Communications Tax Reform: Emerging Technologies that Promote Investment and Customer Choice,” by Eric Tresh.


Have a great weekend.


Kelly McCutchen

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