Quotes of note
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics, does not mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” – Pericles
“The Bill of Rights wasn’t enacted to give us any rights. It was enacted so the Government could not take away from us any rights that we already had.” – Kenneth G. Eade, author
“There’s going to be some property destroyed in Indy tonight, baby!” – UGA football coach Kirby Smart, channeling longtime broadcaster Larry Munson after the Bulldogs won the College Football Playoff championship Monday
On Our Desks
We’re Hiring! Are you a journalist with a love of investigation and want to use your skills to lead meaningful change? We’re hiring an investigative journalist to join the Foundation team. Learn more here.
Heartfelt thanks: The last time you heard from Kyle Wingfield, he was preparing for open-heart surgery. The short story is that things went well and he’s on the road to recovery! The long story is here.
At the Capitol
Kickoff: The 2022 legislative session kicked off this week on the second Monday of January as constitutionally mandated. The House and Senate set their calendars for the first seven legislative days, and concluded their first legislative day as quickly as it began to allow for travel to the national championship game in Indianapolis.
Taxes: Sen. Butch Miller, president pro tempore of the Georgia Senate prefiled S.B.323, legistation that would repeal the state income tax.
State of the State: Governor Kemp delivered his 2022 State of the State Address on Thursday morning. Among the priorities outlined: Raising salaries for teachers, additional funding for schools and $4.5 million dedicated towards training and educating 1,300 additional healthcare providers. .
School bells: Last Friday, State Superintendent Richard Woods addressed the Georgia Partnership for Education’s “Top Ten Issues to Watch” conference and outlined priorities for Georgia students. Despite a remote start for many students, Woods’ priorities included mostly in-person learning in addition to a $2,000 pay raise for teachers, transparency about curriculum, and the return of standardized testing, according to the Georgia Recorder.
Not So Peachy: The record-breaking warm spell in late December and early January is jeopardizing fruit production in Georgia, the AJC reports. Blueberry and peach crops are especially vulnerable, since they require a delicate balance of cold and warm, at just the right times, to produce fruit. The 2019 Georgia blueberry crop was worth over $220 million, and the peach crop in the same year was worth $72 million, according to UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.
Riveting Rivian: Internet users discovered potential site plans for Rivian’s new production facility east of Atlanta, and it is a doozy. The current plans account for nearly 20 million square feet across nearly 2,000 acres – over five times the size of Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois.
Up, up and away… Inflation is soaring to nearly 10% in Atlanta and other areas of the Sun Belt, according to Bloomberg. Prices in the Atlanta area rose 9.8% in December compared with a year ago, the highest inflation rate in a survey of 14 metropolitan areas by the Bureau of Labor Statistics released on Wednesday.
Taxes and Spending
Peach State Rebate: Governor Kemp announced his proposal to refund $1.6 billion in tax dollars to Georgia citizens when they file their income taxes this year. The plan, which must be approved by the state legislature, would provide $250 to individual taxpayers and $500 to married taxpayers filing jointly.
The Least Wonderful Time of the Year: The 2021 individual tax filing season starts January 24, and the IRS is already warning about delays due to paperwork backlogs and anticipated difficulty reaching the agency by phone. But according to the Wall Street Journal, there are no plans to delay the filing deadline. To get your refund as soon as possible, the agency recommends filing returns electronically, requesting direct deposit, and establishing an online account at irs.gov, rather than calling the agency or filing via mail. Anything requiring physical paperwork (or human involvement) could mean serious delays.
Thump-thump-oink: In an experimental, groundbreaking operation, a pig’s heart was successfully transplanted into a man in hopes of treating his life-threatening heart disease. It is the first use of a pig’s heart in a human. Porcine parts and organs are often used in medical treatment, and this is seen as a glimmer of hope for the Americans on the seemingly never ending transplant list.
Bad News… A gene that causes bacteria to be resistant to antibiotics was found in Atlanta sewer water, according to WSB-2. If this gene is widespread, it could mean deadly infections like E-Coli and Salmonella in humans and animals would become extremely difficult and invasive to treat.
In 2016, School Choice advocates saw five big reasons to be optimistic about the future of education options in Georgia – and they were right! While Georgia has made great strides in protecting parents’ rights to choose their children’s education, there’s still more work to be done. This year, School Choice Week is from January 22-29.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Georgia Ranks High on Freedom, but Has Room to Improve”
Have a great weekend.
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