Taxing services, closing schools
Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
- The state should take over testing for, say, three to five years in any school where any individual in authority is suspected of cheating or allowing students to cheat on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, as was the case at Atherton Elementary School in DeKalb, Parklane Elementary in Fulton, Deerwood Academy in Atlanta and Burroughs-Molette Elementary in Glynn County.
- The Georgia General Assembly needs to act to make certain we don’t get a back-door sales tax on services. At issue is a 4-3 state Supreme Court ruling on a tax-grabbing suit by Columbus against Expedia Inc. Expedia, like most other Internet service companies, takes the base room price a hotel is willing to accept, taxes and all, and adds a service charge. Columbus wants occupancy taxes on the room plus the service charge. Four justices agreed. Legislators should make the law clearer: No tax on services.
- The U.S. Government Inc. is on the verge of seizing the tobacco industry, giving itself authority to reformulate tobacco products “to protect the public health.” The winners are politicians and Marlboro, a brand unlikely to lose market share to competitors because marketing can be controlled by government. Big Tobacco surrendered. Next up: soft drink manufacturers. Health is a license for government to control.
- The state Board of Education votes to deny Academy of Lithonia renewal as a charter school for failing to meet academic goals. Fair enough. I’m curious, though. Ever hear of a regular public school being shut down? Not saying that charter schools shouldn’t, but that regular public schools should.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorses, in principle, a Palestinian state next door — on the condition that it is demilitarized and that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist. Fat chance. Wake me when other states in the region accept, without some poision-pill condition, Israel’s right to exist unmolested.
- Not surprising, but the governors who resist the federal government’s effort to develop national standards for reading and math include the governors of Alaska (Sarah Palin) and South Carolina (Mark Sanford). Eventually, as states develop and test curriculum and push performance standards higher, as Georgia is doing, national standards will evolve, bottom up. No need for federal edicts.
- President Barack Obama and his Democrats in Congress are smart to try to ram through their $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion health care proposal and banking industry overhaul quickly — before people absorb the details. For the country’s sake, though, they’d be wise to listen to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in urging caution on banking overhaul: “We have to evaluate it, weight it, slow it down and make sure we do it right … if we don’t, we will pay dearly.”
- Why isn’t the chattering class going ballistic at the president’s firing of Gerald Walpin, inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, for his efforts to hold former NBA starter, Obama supporter and now Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to task for mismanagement of an AmeriCorps-affiliated nonprofit? Had George W. Bush done that … Well, you know.
- Ever notice how seldom somebody identified as “activist” has a real job, especially a real job in the private sector?
- Atlanta’s borrowing costs are high. But it’s not any living person’s fault. Bad stuff just happens. Most often it’s because the state and the federal government didn’t give them enough money.
- Private industry, 2020 version: Ex-Oracle Corp. executive Frank Varasano applies for $340 million in federal money, to put with a $67 million state incentive and a local $15 million to build a new line of fuel-efficient cars in Louisiana. Private company/public money. Get business off welfare and government out of business.
Jim Wooten, an Opinion columnist, writes Friday and Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.