Archive for January, 2012

2/1: Should Internet merchants charge sales tax?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Scott Hellman wants his furniture business in Kennesaw to have a level playing field. He says Internet merchants who don’t charge sales taxes hold an edge. Below, he explains how the arrangement hurts small-business owners.

And retail association executive Rick McAllister lobbies for a state law to close the tax loophole.  But there’s another point of view, too. What do you think?

Continue reading 2/1: Should Internet merchants charge sales tax? »

1/31: How to control residential speeding?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

It seems everyone’s in a hurry on metro Atlanta roads, and not just on the highways. Speeding continues to be a problem on residential roads, in your neighborhood and mine.

Today, I talk with three insiders about the complexities of traffic-calming plans, and a neighborhood leader writes about his frustrations trying to get help.

What’s your experience with speeding in your neighborhood?

Continue reading 1/31: How to control residential speeding? »

1/30: Lessons ignored; HOPE cap

Moderated by Maureen Downey
The Legislature will spend a lot of time debating school reforms and the HOPE scholarship. We tackle both issues today, beginning with a call by a state senator to impose an income cap on HOPE, a proposal that meets with mixed response from readers. I discuss whether one of the world’s most successful reform models — Finland’s — holds any lessons for America.

Tell us what you think about school reforms or the HOPE scholarship.

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1/29: Georgia’s voyage to brighter days

The AJC Editorial Board

In his State of the State address, Gov. Nathan Deal looked to the heavens and the travels of legendary explorers to describe Georgia’s voyage through the darkness of the Great Recession and toward brighter days ahead.

It’s an apt metaphor, for the stars can guide us even today. First, it helps to see that there are rising stars, falling stars and all the rest.

Which will Georgia be in 2012 and beyond? Read what the AJC Editorial Board has to say, along with commentary by Gov. Nathan Deal and Mike Berlon, chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Then, tell us what you think.

Continue reading 1/29: Georgia’s voyage to brighter days »

1/27: Lessons learned from floods

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Flood maps are being updated all over the country. It may be too late for some residents, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency says redrawn maps will help many protect their homes.

Today, I talk with two homeowners who endured multiple floods in recent years, and a local FEMA director writes about how flood risks are constantly changing.

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1/26: What’s next for Gwinnett?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Gwinnett County has become a “mature community,” more urban than suburban. What’s next for a county that’s long been a regional economic player?

Sustainable development, suggests Chuck Warbington, executive director of the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District.

Also, urban planner Christopher Leinberger urges metro Atlanta to return to its roots.

What do you think?

Continue reading 1/26: What’s next for Gwinnett? »

1/25: Is using pesticides a risk in farming?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Agribusiness is Georgia’s leading industry, but seldom do we hear anything positive about pesticides, particularly that they bode well for us and the environment.

Today, David C. Bridges, president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, touts the value of chemical use in farming. Jay Feldman points to the risks of pesticides and the benefits of organic farming.

Continue reading 1/25: Is using pesticides a risk in farming? »

1/24: Georgia’s transportation network

Moderated by Tom Sabulis
Last week, we looked at the pros and cons of the Lindbergh-Emory rail line project proposed under the Transportation Investment Act, a 1-cent taxing coming to vote in July.

Today, Gov. Nathan Deal writes about the motivations behind the regional T-SPLOSTs, while Ed Setzler, a Cobb County representative, says the TIA has serious flaws that need to be fixed during the Gold Dome session.

Tell us what you think about this topic of great interest to Atlanta Forward readers.

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1/23: Cuts in education

Moderated by Maureen Downey
With the Legislature in session, we can expect fierce debates over how to improve education in the state. In my weekly column, I discuss what some legislators think about cuts in education, while a guest columnist wonders about the disconnect between Georgia’s standards and its performance.

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1/22: College consolidation in Georgia

The AJC Editorial Board

The pain and challenges of merging eight campuses must lead to benefits greater than financial savings. The quality of higher education and access to it must improve for Georgia students.

Ever since the GI Bill flooded campuses with thousands of new students, America’s colleges have followed one model — a growth model. But, as Thomas Longin, board president of the Society for College and University Planning, said, “Everyone is real clear now that the new normal doesn’t look anything like a growth model, and, no matter what else you do, you are going to have to consolidate programs.”

To its credit, Georgia has embraced that new economic reality sooner than most states, taking the unprecedented and unpopular action of consolidating eight colleges into four. In doing so, however, the state has to ensure that consolidation leads to improved quality at its reshaped institutions.

The University System has to communicate that the pain caused by …

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