Quotes of Note
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.” –Arthur Schopenhauer
“When the whole world is running towards the cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.” –C.S. Lewis
“We are all born equal in the sense that we all have equal access to the Great Principle: the right to control our thoughts and mental attitude.” –Napoleon Hill
The Foundation is excited to announce the release of the 2022 edition of Guide to the Issues! In this week’s commentary, research fellow J.Thomas Perdue details the purpose and contents of this year’s edition. Guide to the Issues is a biennial resource released by the Foundation that outlines our positions and policy recommendations on pertinent issues. Access this year’s Guide to the Issues here!
On Our Desks
Grades are in: If you’re wondering how fiscally conservative Gov. Brian Kemp is compared to his fellow governors, Kyle Wingfield has you covered in his weekly commentary on the Cato Institute’s 2022 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors. The Report Card accounts for “tax and spending actions that affect short-term budgets in the states” to reflect each governor’s fiscal performance.
Development Impact Fees Study: Keep an eye out for the Foundation’s new study on Georgia’s development impact fees! Next week, we will release a comprehensive list of the existing impact fees throughout Georgia that will examine single-family and multifamily rates. The study will also feature maps that visually represent the variations among statewide juridictions. This will be a resource on impact fee data for citizens, property developers and government officials, and additional research will follow in the near future.
Pumping the brakes: Residential rents in metro Atlanta are plateauing after a meteoric rise in 2021 and early 2022, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Median September rents were 3% higher than a year ago, while the national median rent was up by 9%. By contrast, mortgage rates are increasing rapidly due to the Federal Reserve’s fight against inflation, with interest rates approximately double what they were a year ago. In addition, the availability of properties for rent in Atlanta has increased due to more apartment construction.
Workforce development: State officials announced the first grant from the Georgia Grow Your Own Workforce program, established to encourage the development of apprenticeship and training programs among small businesses. A grant of $150,000 was awarded to the Randolph County Development Authority by the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation, located at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. The purpose is to provide new equipment and in-house workforce training for employees to increase production at Peerless Manufacturing in Shellman, according to the Albany Herald.
Crude awakening: Gas prices in Georgia rose by 3 cents last week, to $3.25 per gallon on average, but prices could drop soon, according to the Cobb County Courier. Montrae Waiters, spokesperson for AAA, said in a weekly press conference that crude oil prices had fallen in response to market concerns about a recession.
Haulin’ freight: The Georgia Port Authority reported handling more than 1.5 million twenty-foot equivalent container units in the first quarter of FY2023. This is a 9.6% uptick in freight traffic compared to last year, according to The Center Square. Despite handling a high volume of freight, GPA officials warn that growth is likely to moderate as part of economic “correction.” Growth is expected to continue, but at a lower and more typical rate than what is currently occurring. GPA Board Chairman Joel Wooten predicted a gradual easing in demand due to a shift in consumer spending away from goods and back to services, as well as the impact of inflation.
Massive turnout: The Georgia Secretary of State’s office reported that over 125,000 votes were cast on the first day of early voting for the midterm election, beating the previous record of 72,000 set in 2018, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting. The overall midterm early voting record is over 4 million votes for the entire early voting period. This election is the most extensive test so far of the 2021 election law overhaul, which refined the laws governing absentee ballots. On the second day of early voting, the 134,000 votes cast even eclipsed the second day turnout for the Presidential election two years ago, reports Capitol Beat. Historically, turnout for presidential elections is substantially higher than for midterms.
Inflation on the ballot: A recent poll showed that inflation is a top priority for Georgia’s Latino voters. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that 64% of Latinos (compared to 54% of overall Georgia voters) said that high prices have had a “significant, negative impact” on their daily lives. While Georgia’s Latino population is relatively small, it is growing rapidly and both Republicans and Democrats have invested more in attracting Latino voters during this cycle.
Energy and Environment
Poplar culture: As part of a $178 million grant initiative from the U.S. Department of Energy for bioenergy technology research, the University of Georgia and two research partner institutions have received a grant of $15.8 million to re-engineer poplar trees for use as a sustainable energy source, according to UGAToday. The aim is to genetically engineer trees to produce multipurpose crops that can be used to replace petroleum-based products. Poplars are among the fastest-growing trees in the U.S., and are important for carbon sequestration and global carbon cycling.
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