Friday Facts: September 21, 2018

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Quotes of note

“Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state.” – George Mason (1788)

“The ability to respectfully deliberate, discuss and disagree – to model the behavior on display in Independence Hall – has been lost in too many places. Some are quick to blame a “tribalization” of America where groupthink reigns. Others point to the rise of social media where, under the cloak of anonymity, sarcasm and disdain dominate. Certainly, none of that improves our discourse. But I think the issue is more fundamental than that. And it’s one governments cannot solve. The issue is that we have abandoned truth.” – Betsy DeVos

“I learned that a lot of our issues politically come from a lack of understanding of other perspectives and also the fact that so often young conservatives and young liberals will go into debate … trying to beat the other one as opposed to come to an agreement.” – Cameron Kasky


September 27: Health Connect South 2018 brings more than 400 health leaders to the Georgia Aquarium to talk about “the future” in health, the current challenges, and collaborative solutions. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Georgia Public Policy Foundation supporters receive a 30 percent discount on the registration fee at this link.

2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum

View sessions from the September 7 event on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Judge Steven Teske’s breakfast keynote:Criminal Justice Reform for a Secure Future.”

A Responsible Path Forward for Health Care

Pension Reform
Responsible Pension Reform in Georgia

Chuck Reed’s luncheon keynote (pension reform):Keeping our Promises, Protecting the Public.”

Education – Business takes the Lead


Transit technology I: Automation of transit vehicles would not necessarily result in job elimination, Amos Haggiag writes in Metro Magazine, citing a PWC analysis that sees a change in jobs. Autonomous vehicles may bring a specialized worker who will carry out the maintenance tasks once performed by human drivers. Moreover, much like ATMs facilitated bank transactions, the technological “will help foster increased demand for public transportation, since it will become more timely and effective.”

Transit technology II: Siemens Mobility has opened up its first digital rail maintenance center and is using 3D printing for on-demand tooling and replacement parts, to reduce inventory and get trains running faster, according to Manufacturing time of parts has been reduced by about 95 percent, from about six weeks to 13 hours.

Bridging the gaps:  More than two dozen municipal governments and transit agencies have formed partnerships with transportation network companies (ride-share services) to enhance mobility options. An article in Metro Magazine explains that “many transit officials are reluctant to stand back and watch technological advances buffet their ridership and financial goals. In the minds of many, outside-the-box thinking is imperative.”

Economic opportunity

Best places to live: Georgia cities that made Money magazine’s 2018 Best Places to Live are Alpharetta (No. 24) and Smyrna (No. 44). Best in the land is Frisco, Texas.

Owner operators: According to the Census Bureau, in 2016 only 23.8 percent of the 32,570,855 establishments in the United States had paid employees. That means the remaining 76.2 percent of establishments were nonemployers (self-employed) or establishments that have no paid employees. We believe those numbers reinforce the case for reducing personal income tax rates, because the vast majority of these business owners report their business income on their individual tax returns. 

Taxes: Georgia is No. 43 in the nation for state and local taxes collected per capita, according to the Tax Foundation. Georgia’s $3,515 collected per capita per year is higher than all bordering states except North Carolina. No. 1 is North Dakota ($9,182); lowest is Alabama ($3,141). The District of Columbia is higher even than North Dakota, at $10,186 per capita. Note: Tax collections per capita are not the same as the tax burden per capita.


Interest vs. aptitude: YouScience, a technology-rich aptitude-based tool in several states and the Georgia public school system, earns a honorable mention in Forbes magazine for how it “can help set young people on a more direct path to successfully pursue meaningful career opportunities.” The article notes that while interest-only assessments tend to steer students away from the modern economy, YouScience found that over 56 percent of Georgia students assessed had the natural talent for high-demand fields, such as manufacturing, construction, computer programming and engineering.

Health care

Certificate of Need: The Georgia House Rural Development Council was in Statesboro this week, hearing testimony about Certificate of Need regulations. The Foundation’s Kyle Wingfield testified; view his testimony, streamed online, here at the 3:17:45 mark.

What the doctors ordered: Medscape surveyed more than 11,500 U.S. physicians and specialists on their top 10 preferred hospitals for treating 10 specific conditions, including cancer, pediatric and cardiac conditions, spinal injuries, hip replacement, ALS, multiple sclerosis and hepatitis C. Emory University Hospital was the only Georgia hospital on the list, at No. 4 for infectious disease treatment.

There’s an app: Fitbit unveiled a connected health platform on its new Fitbit Plus app this week. Fitbit Care integrates health coaching, activity tracking and virtual care services to help users manage chronic conditions.  Earlier this month, Fitbit’s top competitor Apple revealed its newest Apple Watch will include an FDA-cleared electrocardiogram sensor.


Social media: The Foundation’s Facebook page has 3,421 “likes” this week; our Twitter account has 1,846 followers! Join them!

YouTube: The 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum sessions are now available for viewing on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In September 20 years ago, the Foundation published, “Transform Health Care to Empower Individuals and Communities.” It noted, “There is no better time than the present to transform health care in Georgia. Georgia’s previous approach to its more than 1 million uninsured residents and more than 1.2 million Medicaid recipients has been reactionary. The unspoken message is this: ‘Wait until you are sick, visit the emergency room as much as you want and we (the taxpayers) will pay for it.’”

Visit to read our latest commentary, “Puerto Rico’s Steady Decline to ‘Puerto Pobre’ Began Long Before Maria,” by Harold Brown.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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