• Friday Facts

Friday Facts: March 18, 2016

It’s Friday! 

Then and Now: In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, a 10-minute long distance call cost $3.30. Today, a long distance call costs … Wait … What’s long distance?  

The Foundation was honored to be acknowledged in the Congressional Record by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson this month in celebration of 25 years of Policy over Politics in Georgia.
The Foundation was honored to be acknowledged in the Congressional Record by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson this month in celebration of 25 years of Policy over Politics in Georgia.

Quotes of Note 

“This battle for ‘common-sense’ gun control laws pits emotion and passion against logic and reason. All too often in such a contest, logic loses. So, expect more meaningless, if not harmful, ‘gun control’ legislation. Good news – if you’re a crook.” – Larry Elder

“We might hope to see the finances of the union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right … to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the character and conduct of their rulers.” – John Adams 

“It is important to make the distinction between government actions and private actions. Private actions, like the private ballot in elections, deserve privacy. Government actions, including government spending, should be transparent.” – Georgiapolicy.org  

Legislature

Now you see it, now you don’t: Legislation passed unanimously by the Georgia House and with just three dissenters in the Senate is ending access to an innovative, affordable vision service that has allowed asymptomatic Georgians ages 18-40 to undergo an online refraction exam (eye exam) and receive a prescription for eyeglasses or contacts. “We were a national leader in telehealth innovation. This is a huge, disappointing setback, not only for a telehealth but for a state that has been groping for effective alternatives to Medicaid expansion,” Foundation President Kelly McCutchen told Georgiapol.com.

Transparency: This week is Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide celebration of government transparency and access to public information. Read Benita Dodd’s commentary here on why the Georgia Senate needs more sunshine.

Economic opportunity 

Reign of terra: If European trade negotiators get their way, a great number of common food and drink names will disappear from U.S. grocery shelves. Consider shopping for items such as champagne, port, sherry, parmesan, gorgonzola, mozzarella and feta that are called something else. It’s called protection of “geographical indications.” Source: Cato Institute 

Regulation

Noodling catfish data: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new food safety regulation is supposed to reduce food poisonings from Siluriformes, the order of fish including catfish. But the USDA’s risk assessment reveals one “suspected” outbreak of salmonella reported from Siluriformes “in the past 20 years,” and there were only 10 illnesses associated with it. From that, it extrapolated “the preposterous claim that Siluriformes cause an average of 2,400 salmonella illnesses each year,” the Mercatus Center points out.

Price controls: Not having learned the lessons of travel agencies and Realtors, Georgia legislators are establishing commissions on group health care plans at a 5 percent minimum and individual plans at 4 percent.

Transportation

Bad news, good news: The cities most impacted by worsened traffic conditions are those that experienced the most economic improvement during the past year, according to the INRIX 2015 Traffic Scorecard of countries and 100 major metropolitan areas worldwide. Atlanta ranked ninth. Two in the top 100 congested corridors were in metro Atlanta: I-285 between Roswell Road and I-85 (No. 82) and I-75/85 South between Langford Highway and U.S. 278 (No. 80).

Xpress buses: The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority is undertaking the first major revision of its popular 12-year-old express bus service, and public comment is open from March 21-April 19. Read the Foundation’s proposal here for cost-effective, efficient mass transit solutions.

Sidelined: The ambitious push for MARTA heavy rail up Georgia 400 has been derailed; in its place legislators are considering a downsized bill that includes a citywide Atlanta tax district for MARTA. The Foundation’s experts questioned the wisdom of rail paralleling Georgia 400, considering the state’s plan for express toll lanes.

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In March 2006, the Foundation published, “Bunker Mentality Won’t Cut Energy Bills.” It noted “Get used to it: All the energy-efficient appliances and all the conservation mandates in the world may cut residential energy bills, but won’t cut residential rates – at least, not to where they used to be. The solution lies in increasing the energy supply, by the federal government allowing exploration of competitive sources of natural gas at home, offshore and abroad; by developing efficient energy alternatives, and by expanding competition to include infrastructure options, as Georgia legislators are attempting.” We’re glad to say, “We told you so!” 

The Forum

Legislative watch: Click on the link for a roundup on the status of legislation related to Foundation policy proposals, including criminal justice, health care, education, regulation and tax reform.

Media 

ICYMI: View online video of, “At the Inter$ection of Education and Aging,” the March 10 event with Dr. Matt Ladner, on the Foundation’s YouTube channel here. View photographs of the event in the Foundation Facebook album here. 

Foundation in the News: The Pickens County Progress published Harold Brown’s commentary, “Which Way Employment.” Georgiapol.com quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article on legislation that would halt online eye exams in Georgia.

Social media: This week, the Foundation has 2,876 Facebook “likes” and 1,587 Twitter followers at twitter.com/gppf. Follow us on Instagram, too! 

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Tax Reform A Needed Boost for Georgia’s Economy,” by Kelly McCutchen.

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 athttp://forum.georgiapolicy.org/. Find the Foundation on social media at Facebooktwitter.com/gppf and Instagram.