Quotes of Note
“For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.” … Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war. … Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.” – President Ronald Reagan, 40th Anniversary of D-Day speech
“In a move that must be applauded, lawmakers chose to reform Oklahoma’s broken and debt-ridden state employee pension system and adopt a defined contribution plan for all new non-hazard duty hires. The changes will result in a retirement plan for state employees that keeps promises to those who have accrued benefits while capping accumulation of new obligations and establishing a firm debt-elimination plan. The new structure, which is difficult for politicians to manipulate, results in a plan that employees and taxpayers can trust.” – Michael C. Carnuccio, president, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
July 10: If you live in Macon or environs, mark your calendar. The Foundation takes its Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day on the road again! The annual celebration marks the birthday of the late Milton Friedman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and a longtime contributor to free market causes who championed school choice. Friedman was born July 31, 1912, and died November 16, 2006. Dr. Benjamin Scafidi will keynote the event. Look for more details about the luncheon next week.
Mark your calendar for the 2014 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on September 19. Our theme this year is “Tearing Down Walls” in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Job Killing Regulation: Licensing laws have exploded in the U.S. In the 1970s, about 10 percent of workers were required to have licenses. In 2008, that figure had risen to nearly 30 percent. Bipartisan opposition to the laws have emerged: Liberals argue that the price inflation hurts low-income consumers, and conservative critics see the issue as a question of economic liberty. Georgia eliminated the absurd need for a license to braid hair several years ago, but should do more. Source: New York Times
Living Wage not living up to hype: Seattle-area employees earning the new $15 minimum wage have lost benefits such as 401(k), paid holidays and paid vacation, free food, free parking and overtime hours. In many cases these benefits plus the lower state minimum wage added more value to workers’ earnings than the new $15 wage. As one worker put it, “It sounds good, but it’s not good.” Source: Washington Policy Center
Illinois Tax Victory: The Illinois legislature defeated efforts to impose a millionaire tax as well as efforts to extend a major progressive income tax increase, thanks in part to good work by the Illinois Policy Institute. The Illinois personal income tax will now be reduced from 5 percent to a flat 3.25 percent as promised. Of course, this begs the question, how in the world does Illinois have an income tax rate nearly half that of Georgia’s?
Funeral for Georgia’s Death Tax: You won’t find Georgia highlighted on the Tax Foundation’s latest map of estate taxes thanks to legislation sponsored by Rep. B.J. Pak and later signed by Gov. Deal this year that terminated Georgia’s estate tax.
Gas Tax: Georgia’s gas tax is lower than Florida and North Carolina, higher than our other neighboring states and 23rd highest in the nation. We have a self-imposed transportation funding challenge partly because much of these gas tax revenues are diverted to non-transportation uses. Source: Tax Foundation
Must see TV: John Stossel talks about the economic impact of state income taxes with our friends Darcy Olsen of the Goldwater Institute, Speaker T.W. Shannon of Oklahoma and Travis Brown. (9 minutes)
Georgia Virtual School students outscored students in traditional classrooms on nearly every test last year. The state-run school offers hundreds of middle and high-school courses to any Georgia student.
Graduation Rates in Pictures: The color-coded maps here show changes in state graduation rates from 2007 to 2012. Georgia’s graduation rate increased six points during this time period, from 64 percent to 70 percent, but continues to lag behind all but two states. Source: Education Week
Web site of the Week: John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog. No, this isn’t the actor, this is the “Father of Health Savings Accounts” and this influential blog is the place where pro-free-enterprise, private sector solutions to health care problems are routinely vetted by experts from across the political spectrum.
Social media: The Foundation has almost 2,250 “likes” on Facebook and almost 1,200 Twitter followers.
YouTube: We’re closing in on 50,000 views of events and interviews on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the latest commentary, “State needs power to fix problems,” by Benita Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our Web site at www.georgiapolicy.org. Join The Forum at http://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Become a fan of the Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/gppf.