Did you attend our 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award on November 11? Click here to view photographs from the event!
January 26, 2017: Typically the Foundation’s first event of the year, the National School Choice Week Leadership Breakfast is keynoted by education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi. The topic is, “National School Week: Where’s The Money?” Cobb County’s Georgian Club, 8 a.m. $30. Information and registration here.
Quotes of Note
“[T]here are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums.” – Jon Stewart
“Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse than there used to be.” – John Adams (1826)
“Your love of liberty – your respect for the laws – your habits of industry – and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness.” – George Washington (1789)
Then and now: In 1991, when the Foundation was established, the average size of a new home was 2,075 square feet. Homes built in 2015 averaged 2,467 square feet, U.S. Census numbers report. That’s a 19 percent increase in size in 25 years! Source: Cheatsheet.com
Georgia Legislature 2017
The issues: The General Assembly will begin a new two-year session on January 9. Be prepared! Read the Foundation’s policy proposals in our Guide to the Issues, focusing on education, transportation, health care, taxes, criminal justice and more.
Hope springs eternal: One of the earliest pre-filed bills under the Gold Dome (HB6) would change the name of the Georgia Rail Passenger Authority to the Georgia Rail Passenger and High Speed Rail Facilities Authority. (For alternatives, see “Transportation” in our Guide to the Issues.)
Energy and environment
Blowing smoke: The first U.S. offshore wind farm began operations this month off Rhode Island, prompting a Georgia group, Environment Georgia, to urge the state to “heed this wake-up call and start aggressively pursuing offshore wind.” In September (latest data) the nation’s average electricity rate was 10.69 cents per kilowatt hour and Georgia’s was 9.95 cents. Rhode Island’s was 17.01 cents, higher than all but three states.
Going nuclear: James Rust, a retired Georgia Tech professor of nuclear engineering, submitted testimony to the Georgia Public Service Commission on December 6 championing Georgia’s use of nuclear energy and warning, “Georgia should resist any attempts to mandate electricity production by any form. Mandates in other states have caused electricity rates that exceed Georgia’s.” Source: Heartland Institute
Have faith: Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) “can impact drinking water resources in certain circumstances,” the Environmental Protection Agency declared this week, while admitting “significant data gaps and uncertainties in the available data prevented us from calculating or estimating the national frequency of impacts.” (Hint: Look up “can” in the dictionary.)
‘Affordable’ care: Taxpayers will fork over another nearly $10 billion for ObamaCare subsidies next year, according to the Center for Health and Economy, whose, “Early Estimate of Premium Impacts on 2017 Spending,” predicts the 2017 cost of premium subsidies will reach $42.6 billion. It expects the average monthly subsidy to increase $76 (26 percent), from $291 to $367.
Job losses: John Graham praises Donald Trump’s naming of Andrew Puzder as Labor Secretary, noting Puzder understands ObamaCare’s harmful effect on jobs. The Congressional Budget Office projects ObamaCare will shrink the workforce by 2 million full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in 2025. Source: NCPA.org
By the numbers: The media warn that repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will deprive 20 million Americans of health insurance. The Heritage Foundation says the ACA-covered numbers are closer to 14 million whogained coverage from the end of 2013 to the end of 2015, with 11.8 million in Medicaid and 2.2 million in private plans.
Housing affordability: Government regulations can cost about 24 percent of the overall home construction price, an average of $84,671 on homes built in 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders, Regulatory costs have always been expensive but, the NAHB notes, they have increased almost 30 percent since 2011.
Consequences: Gwinnett County is among the nation’s largest public school districts where it’s difficult to dismiss a poorly performing teacher, according to a new study by the Fordham Institute that noted of Gwinnett, “Once teachers are granted tenure, the decision to dismiss them is highly vulnerable to challenge.” It found, “in most districts and schools, dismissing an ineffective veteran teacher remains far harder than is healthy for children, schools, taxpayers – and the teaching profession itself.”
This month in the archives: In December five years ago, the Foundation published, “Planners’ Transit Menu Ignores Commuters’ Tastes.” It noted, “Imagine serving Brussels sprouts instead of broccoli casserole at Christmas dinner. You know most guests won’t eat them, but you believe they’ll bring balance to the meal and that guests will like them if only they taste them. That is the ‘build-it-they-will-come’ mentality behind the project list for the July 31, 2012, penny transportation sales tax referendum in the Atlanta region.”
Foundation in the news: The Newnan Times-Herald published, “Teachers Unions, Faulty Economics and School Choice,” by Jeffrey Dorfman. Yellowhammer News quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article on government-run broadband networks. The Moultrie Observer reported on the Foundation’s recent event on Georgia education reform.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “The Glacial Update of Georgia’s Water Plan,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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