Friday Facts: September 15, 2023

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has released a new study of the lot and home size minimums enforced throughout the state. The study analyzes dimensional requirements in 157 of Georgia’s 159 counties, 126 of its county seats and 83 of the 92 municipalities within the metro Atlanta area.

Enforcing minimum requirements on lot and home sizes is necessarily a limit on housing supply and density. Limiting supply increases housing costs in high-demand areas. A challenge for effective city planning is creating districts that do not stress public infrastructure or negatively impact the environment while also avoiding unnecessary or arbitrary limits on housing supply.

Georgia is a fast-growing state, and its economic development has recently been focused on rural areas. A lack of housing access and affordability could have far-reaching consequences for Georgia’s economic development, not to mention home builders and home buyers.

I hope you will check out this week’s commentary on lot and home size minimums in Georgia. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to again suspend the gas tax in light of higher prices
  • New numbers on inflation for the month of August
  • Two universities in Georgia ranked in the Top 10 nationally
  • The demise of the Southern accent in Georgia

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Join us for the 2023 Georgia Housing Summit

Get your tickets today for the Georgia Housing Summit on October 12 where experts will explore new approaches to harness innovation and entrepreneurship, and ensure housing is attainable for all Georgians. This is a half-day event, filled with practical information on a variety of topics from experts in the field.

Friday’s Freshest

Atlanta rejects high-quality charter school for students with special needs

Many Georgians realized during the pandemic just how badly our public education system had lost the plot. Three years later, it’s still missing. The latest sign is the Atlanta school board’s rejection this past week of a high-quality charter school that serves students with special needs in middle and high school.

Georgia civil servants were dishonest, vindictive and hid facts from the public

Eight former state employees submitted false claims and weekly certifications to the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) to receive unemployment insurance benefits when they were employed by the State of Georgia. This, and more, in our monthly review of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia. 

Why Georgia business owners must beware messages pitching a COVID-19 era tax credit 

The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit for businesses and tax-exempt organizations that suffered financially during COVID-19. It was created by Congress in 2020, and more than three years later, third-party promoters are still pushing the credit. 

Senate Study Committee holds meeting on Rural Personnel Recruitment

Expanding scope of practice, thereby allowing healthcare professionals such as physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training, was recommended to increase access. The Foundation published a study last year explaining why this would help expand healthcare access in Georgia. 

Blame Congress for summer’s aviation problems

Without major institutional reform, the FAA will continue to struggle with congestion and delays.

The Latest


Inflation accelerated in August to 3.7% 

The Labor Department said the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 0.6% in August from the previous month, in line with estimates. It marked the steepest monthly increase this year, underscoring the challenge of taming high inflation.

Georgia film industry generates $4.1 billion in fiscal ’23

The film industry spent $4.1 billion in Georgia during the last fiscal year, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday. That was below the $4.4 billion film and television productions spent in the Peach State during the previous fiscal year but above the $4 billion in direct spending the industry posted in fiscal 2021.

Georgia breaks state tourism record in 2022

When it comes to tourism, Georgia officials announced the state had broken its own records for visits and business in 2022. From the visits, tourists spent close to $40 billion, passing the record set pre-COVID-19 pandemic by $2 billion, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Gwinnett brewery seeks community support to stay open

The owners of Lilburn-based Blackbird Farms are seeking community support to keep its doors open so they can avoid becoming the second brewery in Gwinnett County to close this year. The owners said “the straw that broke the camel’s back” from a financial standpoint was the cost of a permit they needed to obtain from Gwinnett County’s health department.


Two Georgia universities ranked in Top 10

Georgia Tech is third in rankings platform Niche’s list of the 10 best public universities, while the University of Georgia placed ninth. The rankings are based on an analysis of academics, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education. The ranking compares more than 500 public colleges and state universities.

Board of Regents OKs ‘major ask’ in university system budget

The University System of Georgia is taking advantage of a strong state economy by seeking a $385.4 million increase in its fiscal 2024 mid-year budget. With the state sitting on a massive budget surplus, Gov. Brian Kemp has given state agencies permission to request 3% spending increases in the mid-year budget.

Georgia lawmakers consider tweaks to dual enrollment options for high school students

For some families of high school juniors and seniors, dual enrollment courses can be a way to save some money on tuition by banking college or technical school credit hours before graduating high school. But that money comes out of the state budget, and Georgia House members are considering tweaks to the program. 

The federal student loan pause is finally ending

Interest began accruing on federal student loans this month, with payments set to begin in October — roughly three and a half years since they were initially paused by the Trump administration in March 2020. 

Government accountability

Kemp suspends Georgia gas tax

Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency and temporarily suspended the state’s tax on gasoline in an effort to reduce the impact of inflation. In a press release, Kemp said his actions were in response to policies coming at the federal level, saying that President Biden has caused Georgians to feel the brunt of negative economic conditions.

Tort reform fight returning to Atlanta 

After years on the back burner in the General Assembly, tort reform promises to be front and center when Georgia lawmakers convene in January for the 2024 legislative session. Gov. Brian Kemp signaled his intention to push for changes in the state’s civil justice system last month.


All-female ride-share service now available at Atlanta airport

An all-female ride-share service called “HERide” is now available at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Just like Uber or Lyft, passengers book the service through an app. HERide, however, only has women drivers.

Gwinnett’s new Transit Development Plan released

Gwinnett County residents could someday take a Ride Gwinnett bus from Duluth to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport under the county’s proposed plan for transit development. The plan throws out all of the concepts included in plans that voters rejected in back-to-back referendums in 2019 and 2020 and starts over from scratch.


Energy secretary has staff block EV charging stations as she attempts to show ease of travel

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm wanted to go on a four-day road trip touting the benefits, and ease, of driving an electric vehicle. But she received unwanted attention when her staffers — in gas powered vehicles — blocked a charging station near Augusta. This didn’t sit well with EV drivers who actually needed to use the charging station.

There are even more people living in Atlanta than we thought

A new census correction shows the Atlanta urban area had its population adjusted to 5.1 million residents from the previously reported 4.9 million residents. An additional 100,853 residents living in more than 37,000 homes had been mistakenly assigned to the Gainesville, Georgia, urban area.

What has happened to Georgia’s Southern accent?

A collaborative study between the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech has found the classic Southern accent is undergoing rapid change in Georgia. The instigator? Generation X.

Quotes of the Week

“All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.” – Ludwig von Mises

“The masses have never thirsted after the truth. Whoever can supply them with their illusions is their master: Whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim.” – Gustave Le Bon, “The Crowd”

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” – Plato

« Previous Next »