Quotes of note
“We, the American people, are not each other’s enemies. The enemies are those people behind the curtain jerking everybody’s chains and trying to divide us up by age, by race, by income.” -Dr. Ben Carson
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” -Robert Frost
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” -George Orwell
On Our Desks
Fresh paint: You might notice that things look a little different on georgiapolicy.org! This week, we completed a redesign that should make your user experience much easier and more seamless. Explore the new site here.
On the rise: As housing prices continue to skyrocket, our latest study identifies the cost of regulatory compliance as a large factor. Read the press release.
Watch for falling rates: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield shows how flattening and lowering Georgia’s income-tax rate would be a big winner in terms of economic growth.
Full of Promise: Explore how Promise Scholarships would expand access to education opportunities.
From our friends: The Heartland Institute cited Georgia Policy’s research in their latest piece on Education Savings Accounts (a.k.a. Promise Scholarships) for Georgia.
We’re hiring! Are you a journalist with a love of investigation and the desire to use your skills to lead meaningful change? We’re hiring an investigative journalist to join the Foundation team. Learn more here.
At the Capitol
Advanced Education: It was a positive week for education options in the legislature as multiple bills advanced in the House Education Committee.
The “Georgia Promise Scholarship Act” applies to students whose family income is below 400% of the federal poverty level, students in schools ranked in the state’s bottom quartile for academic performance, adopted foster children, active duty military children, students with one of several disabilities and IEPs, those with a documented case of bullying, and students who are not offered in-person instruction by their public school. Students are allowed to use these funds towards qualifying expenses such as tuition and fees for private and postsecondary schools, nonpublic online learning courses, therapy services, transportation, and educational technology and materials. This bill, a version of which was first introduced during the 2021 legislative session, passed out of the full committee.
The Academic Innovation Subcommittee passed the “Georgia Educational Freedom Act” and it will now head to the full Education Committee. This bill also would create a new “Promise Scholarship” program for K-12 students, though it varies in some respects from the other bill. The legislation provides a $6,000 annual stipend for eligible students to pay for education-related expenses at participating private schools. The only eligibility requirement is attendance in a public school.
A bill that would allow children of military service members to attend any public school in the local school system in which they reside passed out of the Education Committee.
Licensing reform: Certain professional licenses would be expedited for spouses of firefighters, healthcare providers, and law enforcement officers who relocate to Georgia. This legislation, intended to address public safety staffing shortages, passed out of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.
Tax credit: A bill that would create a state tax credit for contributions to law enforcement foundations passed out of the Senate Finance Committee. The tax credit program would be capped at $100 million annually, with a maximum of $5 million permitted to each qualifying foundation. Individual taxpayers can receive a matching credit up to $5,000 and corporations are eligible to donate up to 75% of their tax liability.
Energy and Environment
Walking on sunshine: This week Georgia Power Company announced plans to close most of its coal-fired power plants and increase its use of solar power, according to Capitol Beat. The company’s Integrated Resource Plan, filed every three years with the Public Service Commission, also calls for continued reliance on natural gas and the exponential expansion of battery storage.
Broadband on the way: On Tuesday, Governor Brian Kemp announced almost $408 in preliminary grant awards for the expansion of broadband to communities, homes and businesses in 70 mostly rural counties across the state. The funds come from the state’s allocation from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Pain at the pump: U.S. drivers paid an average of $3.31 per gallon in January, up from less than $2.00 per gallon during the early months of the pandemic, according to AAA. It was $3.11 per gallon in Georgia, tied for 34th-highest, although among our neighboring states only Florida ($3.22) was higher. Further, the energy index portion of the consumer price index jumped 29.3% from December 2020 to December 2021. Source: The Center Square
Sick Day: Metro Atlanta school districts recorded more than 74,000 coronavirus cases among staff and students since the start of the school year, according to data reports posted to their websites.
COVID-19: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, TKTKKTKTK HOUSING TKTKTKTK
Have a great weekend.
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