Quotes of note
“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” –Winston Churchill
“Identifying the pattern is awareness, choosing not to repeat the cycle is growth.” –Billy Chapata
“Reality doesn’t go away when it is ignored.” –Thomas Sowell
On Our Desks
Vote for us! Georgia Policy’s work on the rising cost of housing is a finalist for the State Policy Network’s Expanding Your Audience award! Starting today, voting is open to the public. Cast your vote for Georgia Policy here!
Flat-out: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield looks at the state surplus and what can be done to fast-track the flat tax.
Uh-oh: The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week rose to the highest level in more than eight months in what may be a sign that the labor market is weakening. Applications for jobless aid last week rose by 7,000 to 251,000, up from the previous week’s 244,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That’s the most since Nov. 13, 2021 when 265,000 Americans applied for benefits.
Pawn stars: Title pawn borrowing is on the increase in Georgia amid soaring gas prices and inflation, reports State Affairs. The interest on these typically low-dollar, short-term loans can go as high as 300% as there is virtually no cap on what lenders can charge. The state does not track title pawns so there are no figures available on the number of loans, but more predatory lending complaints are filed in Georgia than in any other state except California, Texas and Florida.
Some good news: CNBC ranked Georgia the third-best state for workers. In particular, WorkSource Georgia was shown to be one of the best workforce training programs in the country. Positives like 32.3% of adults having a bachelor degree, being the seventh-highest state for net positive migration, and being a right-to-work state helped set Georgia apart.
Housing & Development
Pay up: Dougherty County homeowners are preparing to pay more in property tax as early as next year, according to the Albany-based WALB. The 4-to-3 vote increased the millage rate by 4.5 mills.The increase is projected to bring in an additional $4 million for the county.
Industry: A defense technology company plans to invest $60 million in a new manufacturing and research facility in Fulton County, according to the Center Square. California-based Anduril Industries plans to create more than 180 new jobs in Atlanta over the next three years. A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Economic Development declined to say whether taxpayers footed the bill for any incentives, saying the project remains active.
It’s electric! A joint development authority near Savannah voted Tuesday afternoon to approve an “economic development agreement” for Hyundai Motor Group’s planned electric vehicle factory. Details of the agreement were not released, as it has not been signed by the state or Hyundai, but the project would utilize and improve roughly 3,000 acres near the Georgia coast. The $5.5 billion plant is planned to open in 2025.
Hot Dawg: University of Georgia officials said this week the school has received more than a quarter-billion dollars in donations and gifts during the recent fiscal year, the largest haul in its history. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the record-breaking $257.4 million between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, came from 71,302 donors.The money funds several ongoing campus projects, scholarships for students with financial needs, and endowed faculty professorships.
Training: Georgia has created a website to deliver safety resources and any updated training to all public schools and community partners, according to the Atlanta-based 11 Alive. The Georgia Center for School Safety is a partnership between the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. Parents and anyone else can now review any Georgia school safety training plan, resources and guidelines online. The department said online and in-person training is available on active shooter response, bus safety, de-escalation, emergency operations planning, school safety assessments, severe weather and more.
Bug spray: Officials announced on Tuesday that West Nile virus has been detected in DeKalb County, reports 11Alive. With the recent uptick in rain, conditions are ideal for mosquito breeding. County environmental health leaders strongly recommend overturning anything where water is pooling, and suggest changing outdoor pet water bowls daily. In addition, wearing long sleeves, long pants and mosquito repellent are urged.
Energy and Environment
Re-rerouted: Nearly a century after its man-made alteration, a tributary of the Satilla River will be returned to its natural course, reports the Center Square. Umbrella Creek was rerouted in the 1930’s and ‘40’s by logging companies and the Army Corps of Engineers to facilitate the transport of timber through the tidal salt marsh. Seventy-five percent of the total cost of $7.6 million will be paid by the federal government with the remainder paid by the state.
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