Friday Facts: September 11, 2020

It’s Friday!

Quotes of Note

“I called President Bush and I said, ‘You can’t come back here; the United States is under attack.’ And the rest of the day was dealing with the reality that American security would never be the same.” – Condoleezza Rice

Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” – George W. Bush

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” – Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl

Today, in official ceremonies and in homes across the nation, Americans recall the horrific attacks by Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001, that killed almost 3,000 people. In 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, a memorial was dedicated in New York City on the site where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of the 2,983 people whose lives were lost are etched across bronze panels surrounding two pools. The memorial was designed by an architecture graduate of Georgia Tech, Michael Arad. Read about it here.

Taxes and spending

Up and away: Georgia’s tax collections improved again in August, the second consecutive strong month in the new fiscal year that started in July. The state announced Thursday that collections were up 7.7%, or $134 million, over August of 2019. Foundation President  Kyle Wingfield said it’s too early to say whether it’s a case of the economy being propped up by federal spending or the start of a strong recovery. “For the moment, it is painting a much better picture than anyone imagined,” he said. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


COVID-19 status updates: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports more than 6,200 COVID-19 deaths and more than 289,000 confirmed cases in Georgia. The department updates the information daily at 3 p.m. Visit the website here.

No more temperature checks: Starting September 14, international air passengers will no longer require temperature checks and screening for COVID-19 symptoms at the nation’s designated arrival airports. This is being replaced with a “more effective” education strategy that includes “health education for passengers” as well as “voluntary collection of contact information from passengers using electronic means” to avoid long lines and delays from manual data collection, and “potential testing.” Source:


Choice and charters: A survey of likely Georgia voters finds two thirds of respondents support public charter schools. The Cygnal poll, published Thursday, found support for charter schools came from 73% of Independents, 68% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats surveyed. The favorable opinions came from 83% of Asian voters, 83% of Latino voters, 67% of white voters and 65% of black voters, the Georgia Charter Schools Association reported.

Chartering success: An analysis of student performance at charter and district schools in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests from 2005-2017 found greater gains by charter-school students than their cohorts in district schools. The biggest gains were for African Americans and for students of low socioeconomic status attending charter schools, according to the EducationNext analysis published this week.

Restrictive laws: The Center for Education Reform’s 2020 ranking of charter school laws in the United States finds these laws have declined overall in their capacity to serve students. Happily, Georgia ranked 16th in the nation, up from 20th place in 2018. More than 7,300 charter schools serve more than 3.3 million students.


Government intrusion: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asserted its jurisdiction over residential leases and is moving to end evictions for the remainder of the calendar year. A FreedomWorks article warns that this effective government seizure of private property sets several bad precedents. The moratorium will either eventually prevent landlords from collecting rent or will create a backlog that will need to be collected in January; at that point, many people unwilling or unable to pay will be evicted.


Best-laid plans and models: Transportation planning models usually miss the mark, Foundation Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum writes in a Reason Foundation post. He proposes eliminating the federal requirement for long-term planning; “nobody has a clue of what will be happening in 30 years.” Scenario planning, instead, provides different forecasts based on different projections. He also urges continued research to improve existing models and develop new models: “We’ll all need to adapt to future developments and it will lead to better infrastructure if we recognize most models have simply educated guesses and should not be treated as a divine forecast for the future.”


Election miscellanea: This week, Savannah Judge John Morse began hearing a case alleging at least seven people voted twice in the June 9 primary that Long County Probate Judge Bobby Harrison Smith lost by nine votes. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that at least 1,000 Georgians voted twice in the primary and face prosecution. And U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg held hearings before deciding whether to discard Georgia’s new $104 million electronic voting system for hand-marked paper ballots. Source: News reports


Screenshot of Kyle Wingfield's interview with WXIA-TV.
WXIA-TV interviewed Kyle Wingfield Wednesday about the Kemp Administration’s plan for Georgia to quit

Foundation in the news: WXIA-TV interviewed Kyle Wingfield about the Kemp Administration’s plans to stop using the federal healthcare marketplace website, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed Kyle about Georgia’s stronger-than-expected tax collection for August. WSB-TV interviewed Benita Dodd about the poor performance of the Atlanta Streetcar.

Social media: Follow the Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

YouTube: View all eight Zoom sessions of the 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on the Foundation’s YouTube channel here. The Forum, which began July 15 and ended August 27, included six policy sessions: education, the budget, land use and transportation, the economy, housing, and healthcare. The opening keynote was by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the closing keynote by Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton. View the program here.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In September 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Taxpayers Have Rights, Too.” It noted, “As campaign season approaches, expect to once again hear pledges of small government and fiscal conservatism. Then watch how, come budget time, the dollars mysteriously pile up again.”

Visit to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Tests are Crucial to Measure Students’ Learning,” by Kyle Wingfield.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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