Instead of seeking competitive advantage by picking winners and losers through tax breaks and incentives, how about embracing a lower rate and a broader base? That’s pro-growth and fair to Georgia’s hardworking taxpayers. Businesses could add equipment and workers; employees could control more family income.
Without an educated workforce, opportunity lags and the economy suffers. Unfortunately, the November referendum on a statewide Opportunity School District for “chronically failing” K-12 schools failed. Parents of the 68,000 children trapped in those schools deserve results. Low-income families, who have few options, deserve the respect of a choice to give their children a chance.
In 2015, the Governor’s Education Reform Commission proposed a funding formula focused more on student achievement so schools would not be required to spend funds on items that do not appear to boost student learning. With such “student-based budgeting,” more money follows the child, with greater accountability.
Georgians already demonstrate their support of school choice: The tuition tax credit scholarship fund reaches its $58 million cap on voluntary contributions on Day 1 each year. It’s a small step to enhance choice by simply raising that cap.
Education Savings Accounts empower parents to personalize their child’s learning. Operating in five states including Florida and Tennessee, ESAs can fund a variety of authorized education services through a debit card using the child’s public education funds.
When it comes to Georgians’ well-being, legislators need not wait on Congress to improve health care access and affordability. First, facilitate direct primary care, which operates much like a gym membership: low monthly premiums, unlimited use and hefty discounts on many procedures. Physicians need assurance this high-quality, low-cost approach will not be regulated as insurance.
Next, reduce protectionist scope-of-practice restrictions and eliminate costly, unnecessary licensing requirements for health care professionals; end certificate-of-need requirements for health care facilities and increase staff by streamlining occupational licensing.
Finally, seek reimbursement for the unfunded federal mandate requiring hospitals to treat all ER patients regardless of ability to pay. A block grant could fund uncompensated care and allow Georgia to take the lead in fast-tracking customized, affordable coverage for the estimated 565,000 uninsured low-income Georgians.
Other states have done much of this, but Georgia now, especially, has a vested interest in leading the nation on health care reform.