September 19: Registration is open for the 2014 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. The theme this year is, “Tearing Down Walls,” in recognition of this year’s 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Keynote speakers include radio talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain and Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute. Experts will discuss tearing down the walls to tax, education and health care reform in Georgia. Find out more and register at www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=3264.
September 22: Mark your calendar for the showing of “Rockin’ The Wall” – about the impact of music on the fall of the Berlin Wall – sponsored by the Foundation at the Earl Strand Theatre in Marietta.
Quotes of Note
“A far more effective & equitable way for government to finance education is to finance students, not schools.” – Milton Friedman
“Be not intimidated … nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.” – John Adams
“If global warming is a problem, then it requires a global solution. A local tax will do nothing to address global warming, apart from imposing high costs on the local economy.” – Sinclair Davidson, Senior Fellow, Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs
“For decades, American ingenuity has allowed us to keep up with growing energy demands and REDUCE pollution at the same time. Sadly now, instead of investing our scarce resources into research and development to fund breakthroughs in areas like energy storage, we will be wasting millions of dollars on regulatory compliance costs and higher energy prices.” – Kelly McCutchen,
Your state think tank’s effectiveness is frightening progressives. “The next step for us is to take down this network of institutions that are state-based in each and every one of our states,” Arshad Hasan of ProgressNow told a gathering of liberal activists recently. “… [We] can’t achieve our policy objectives as progressives, because they do an excellent job.” Source: The Daily Signal
Registered to Vote? There’s an app for that. Just search for “GA Votes” in the Apple or Android app store to download an app that will let you register to vote, track election results, find your precinct, etc.
Unintended Consequences I: Nearly 60 percent of the cigarettes consumed in New York are smuggled in from low-tax states, according to estimates. New York imposes a state cigarette tax of $4.35 per pack. Source: Tax Foundation
Unintended consequences II: As you celebrate this weekend’s Sales Tax Holiday in Georgia and Tennessee, a reminder from the Tax Foundation that saving the 6-8 percent sales tax on purchases like school supplies, computers, and clothing isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. The 17 states that have a sales tax holiday in 2014 are merely changing the timing of consumers’ spending habits and providing a shiny object that distracts from true, year-round tax reforms.
Tax cronyism: Tax carve-outs are nothing more than subsidies under a different name and run counter to sound, fair tax policy. A new ALEC study explains how special tax breaks have the effect of increasing taxes for everyone else. Georgia is credited in the study for publishing an annual tax expenditure report, a policy proposed by the Foundation’s Government Transparency Initiative.Health Care ObamaCare by the numbers: 42: This is the number of significant changes that have been made to the Affordable Care Act since its passage: two by the Supreme Court, 16 by Congress, and 24 by President Obama himself, unilaterally. Source: Galen Institute
Streetcar updates: After taxpayers in San Antonio, Texas, demanded a vote on a proposed streetcar project, the city and county dropped the proposal this week and withdrew $32 million in funding. The mayor is seeking a new streetcar proposal that must go to the voters for future consideration. It’s a wise move:
- Tucson’s $196-million, 3.9 mile-street car line opened July 25. When Tucson received its $63 million TIGER grant in 2010, the project cost was estimated at $150 million. In 2013, its annual operating subsidies were estimated at $4.4 million – more than quadruple two years before.
- Atlanta’s $69 million streetcar is now estimated to cost more than $100 million and its launch has been delayed until November; officials say this will not affect the cost. The Foundation has already warned it won’t improve transportation or relieve congestion. In fact, it may do the opposite, according to recent news reports.
- Detroit began work this week on its 3.3-mile streetcar project, which is supposed to open in late 2016 to serve 20 stations at 12 location. “Projections indicate the streetcar will promote 10,000 new housing units and more than $3 billion in economic development,” according to Metro Magazine. The cost is projected at approximately $140 million. Our prediction: Costs and delays will grow there, too.
Web site of the Week: NewGeography.com provides an anti-smart growth, honest take on the politics and policies of urbanization, suburbanization, land use and demographics.
YouTube: The Foundation’s YouTube channel has more than 53,000 views. View Kelly McCutchen’s address at a rally against the EPA’s Power Grab in Atlanta at this link: http://youtu.be/Fhk7qIc2AhQ.
Social media:Have you “liked” the Foundation’s Facebook page yet? Join nearly 2,300 of our friends and get up-to-date news, policy views and event alerts. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gppf!
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “EPA’s Power Grab Unscientific and Uncalled For,” by Benita Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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