• Friday Facts

Friday Facts: April 7, 2017

It’s Friday! 

Quotes of note

“Governments create nothing and have nothing to give but what they have first taken away. … Every vote given for Protection is a vote to give Governments the right of robbing Peter to pay Paul and charging the public a handsome commission on the job.” – Winston Churchill

“This is the history of governments, – one man does something which is to bind an other. A man who cannot be acquainted with me, taxes me; looking from afar at me ordains that a part of my labor shall go to this or that whimsical end, –  not as I, but as he happens to fancy. Behold the consequence. Of all debts men are least willing to pay the taxes. What a satire is this on government! Everywhere they think they get their money’s worth, except for these.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t like the income tax. Every time we talk about these taxes we get around to the idea of ‘from each according to his capacity and to each according to his needs’. That’s socialism. It’s written into the Communist Manifesto. Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what’s happening to him.” – T. Coleman Andrews

Taxes and spending

Federal excise excess: Did you know? Among the excise taxes the federal government imposes are 10-11 percent on firearms, ammunition and bows, 10 percent on indoor tanning, 3 percent on tackle boxes and 49 cents per shaft on arrow shafts. Source: Tax Foundation Facts & Figures 2017 

E-xcellent: The number and share of Americans filing electronically rose from 68.5 million, or about 51 percent, in 2005 to 128.8 million, or 91 percent, in 2015. Source: 247WallSt.com

A picture paints a million words: A day after the second round of bad weather in Georgia and a week after fire under an overpass caused a section of I-85 to collapse, traffic is horrendous on I-75 at the I-285 overpass. The state promises I-85 will be repaired by June 15. Meanwhile, traffic will get a lot worse before it gets better: Traffic congestion was eased this week because school districts in several metro area counties were on spring break.
A picture paints a thousand words: A day after the second round of bad weather in Georgia this week and a week after fire under an overpass caused a section of I-85 to collapse, traffic was  horrendous Thursday on I-75 at the I-285 bypass. The state promises I-85 will be repaired by June 15. Meanwhile, traffic will get a lot worse before it gets better: Traffic was eased this week because school districts in several metro area counties were on spring break. They’ll be back in session Monday.

Transportation 

Driverless trains: The city of Capelle aan den Ijssel in the Netherlands has operated a driverless, automated shuttle since 1999. That project’s developer is working on a Dubai project. Autonomous “trackless trains” will carry up to 24 passengers on a 1.5 mile dedicated, elevated, bidirectional lane in 4.5 minutes. Each vehicle will also be capable of navigating public roads. See the Foundation proposal for Atlanta’s Clifton Corridor. 

Autonomous cars: The General Assembly approved legislation allowing autonomous vehicles to operate on Georgia roads. 

Education

School choice deniers: In an editorial supporting school choice, The Wall Street Journal dismisses the criticism that vouchers hurt public education. “One reason public schools in urban areas are so abysmal is that the predominantly low-income students they serve have no other options, while the affluent can flee to private schools. This reduces the political and economic incentives to shape up. Vouchers level the playing field among income strata – which liberals should support – and create competition for the public-school monopoly.”

Enough already: Georgia State Senator Freddie Powell Sims puts her support for the recently passed school turnaround legislation in perspective in an Albany Herald article. Discussing opposition to the bill, the South Georgia Democrat said, “Nobody’s blaming the teachers in this. … It may be administrators, school boards or others officials who are part of a school system. But we have to, at some point, look at ourselves and say, ‘How can we keep telling parents that, yes, our school is failing, but just give us a little more time and we’ll fix it?'”

Economy 

Full steam ahead: The National Association of Manufacturers reports record-high optimism among manufacturers, based on widely shared confidence that the Trump administration will provide relief from government regulations, tax reform and significant investments in U.S. infrastructure.

A billion here … In fiscal year 2016, federal agencies estimated making over $144 billion in improper payments, a number that has increased considerably in recent years. Cumulative improper payments since 2003 are estimated to be at least $1.2 trillion, according to the Government Accountability Office. For comparison, the 2018 budget passed for the entire state of Georgia (state and federal) was about $49 billion.

 

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In April five years ago the Foundation published, “Lack of Venture Capital Means Lost Jobs, Lost Opportunity.” It noted, “Georgia must foster a supportive innovation ecosystem so that our entrepreneurs keep 21st-century keep jobs here. Or they will continue to leave Georgia – and take the jobs with them.”

Media 

The Forum: Kelly McCutchen writes on, “The Relationship Between Health Care Reform and the Supreme Court Confirmation.” Ross Coker writes on, “Criminal Justice Reform Legislative Post-Game.” 

Have you visited our social media sites lately? The Foundation has 3,202 Facebook “likes!” Our Twitter account has 1,733 followers at twitter.com/gppf. Follow us on Instagram, too!

Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article on the end of the legislative session; he said, “We were disappointed in missed opportunities.” Reason.com quoted Benita Dodd on Georgia Legislature’s weakening of eminent domain protections. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published Benita’s op-ed on the Atlanta and MARTA T-SPLOSTs. The Buena Vista Journal published Kelly’s commentary on the “Forgotten Man.” 

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Legislature 2017 Misses Many Opportunities,” by Kelly McCutchen.

Have a great weekend!

Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd

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