November 15: The agenda is online for the 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, which features nearly two dozen policy experts and leaders on issues affecting Georgia: Education, healthcare, opportunity, regulation and transportation. Registration is $100 for the daylong event on Friday, November 15, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly. The theme: “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility.” Read about it here; register here.
Quotes of note
“If only the disdain for certain government agencies or policies led to a more concerted effort at reform. But that is unlikely to happen in this hyper-partisan atmosphere where political affiliation outweighs allegiance to the Republic. Take federal spending for instance. For decades we have watched the minority party in Washington savage the majority for its spendthrift ways. But this rancor only lasts until the next election changes party control. Do spending patterns change? Nope. The only thing different is who’s doling out the perks to keep their party in power.” – Lewis Morris
“Adults sometimes like to use children to carry their messages because it makes it hard for the other side to criticize them without seeming like monsters. If adults have encouraged you to panic about climate change without telling you what I am telling you here, they do not have your best interests at heart. They are using you.” – Scott Adams
“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.” – John D. Rockefeller Jr.
Options: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport saw an increase of nearly 4% in passengers in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2019. Even so, airport parking revenue declined almost 3% and taxi use declined 20% while Uber and Lyft use increased 33%, airport General Manager John Selden told the Atlanta City Council’s Transportation Committee this week. This ride-share increase is taking place even as taxis enjoy a positional advantage at the airport.
Squeaky wheel: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced a two-year, $5 million plan to redesign more than 20 city corridors by 2021 “to improve safety for people who walk, drive, take transit or ride a bike or e-scooter.” Atlanta would see more than 20 miles of “safer streets.” More than 3 million e-scooter trips have taken place in the city since February 2019. After three fatalities, the city banned rides between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Bottoms’ plan will clearly reduce lane capacity for automobiles, and cycling activists are also urging the city to reduce the speed limit.
Moving out: Large U.S. cities lost tens of thousands of millennial and younger Gen X residents last year, according to Census figures released this week. “The sustained declines signal a sharp reversal from the beginning of the decade, when young adults flooded into cities and helped lead an urban revival,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Where the pay raise goes: The average total cost of employer-provided health coverage passed $20,000 for a family plan this year, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Annual premiums rose 5% to $20,576 with employers, on average, bearing 71% of that cost. Source: Wall Street Journal
Reviews count: Eighty percent of consumers have made a healthcare-related search online in the past year, according to a survey from Doctor.com, and 60% will not book an appointment if they do not like what they see. Even after a strong referral from their primary-care physician, 81% of consumers will still check out a doctor online and 90% said they frequently change their mind if the provider has poor or weak reviews. Source: Change Healthcare
Connected care: The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has named the hospitals included in its 2019 “Most Wired” program. Top-rated (levels 7-10) hospitals in Georgia were Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (8), Northeast Georgia Medical Center (8), WellStar Health System (8), Augusta University Health (7), Grady Memorial Hospital (7), Navicent Health (7) and Piedmont Healthcare (7).
The next frontier: Best Buy’s new five-year plan partly revolves around expanding into the healthcare market and moving from selling wearables and devices to adding the analytics and services needed to help senior citizens age in place. The nation is expected to have 54 million seniors by 2023, and 90% of them want to stay at home. Best Buy’s healthcare push started last year with its acquisition of Great Call, which provides services for seniors and makes the Jitterbug phone. Source: ZDNet.com
Choice and charters: In large urban areas, higher charter market share is associated with significant achievement gains for black and Hispanic students, according to a new study by the Fordham Institute. It found that in suburban and rural areas, higher charter market share is associated with significant achievement gains for Hispanic students, and black students in rural districts also see gains.
Taxes and spending
Needs improvement: Truth in Accounting’s 10th annual Financial State of the States report analyzes the most recent state government financial information, including state finance and pension data, trends across the states, and key findings. Georgia ranked No. 22 in the nation in financial health, earning a grade of C. The state has $10.2 billion in unfunded costs, largely due to underfunded pension costs and future retiree health benefits, amounting to a $3,500 burden on each Georgia taxpayer. The healthiest finances were in Alaska; worst in the nation was New Jersey, with a $65,100 burden per taxpayer!
This month in the archives: In September 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Whatever Happened to Free Enterprise?” It noted, “Will we, before it is too late, use the vitality and the magic of the marketplace to save this way of life, or will we one day face our children, and our children’s children, when they ask us where we were and what we were doing on the day that freedom was lost?”
Foundation in the news: The Savannah Morning News reported on the Foundation’s Savannah event, “License to Work,” with the Georgians First Commission. Savannahnow.com shared its podcast interview with Kyle Wingfield. Tim Bryant of WGAU-AM interviewed Jenna Robinson about her Thursday event, “The Student-Loan Debt Dilemma.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “The Search for Civility and Civil Society,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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