Press Release on the U.S. Senate’s Social Services Expansion

Press Release on the U.S. Senate’s Social Services Expansion

Press Release on the U.S. Senate’s Social Services Expansion

PEACHTREE CORNERS—The U.S. Senate approved an entirely partisan reconciliation bill of at least $3.5 trillion that irresponsibly includes the biggest expansion of social services. In his own words, Senate Budget Commit- tee Chairman Bernie Sanders said the budget reconciliation bill “will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s.”

The Alliance for Opportunity, a three-state coalition to move people from dependence to the dignity of work and a flourishing life, believes we should learn from our history and expand pathways to success and opportunity with– out dictating a burdensome cradle-to-college path that will cost the American people trillions of dollars.

“When many are struggling from the consequences of the pandemic and government-imposed shutdowns, families want a return to normal with job opportunities so they can achieve their hopes and dreams,” said Kevin Roberts, Texas Public Policy Foundation Chief Executive Officer

We know that the governments’ closure of schools and the lack of affordable childcare has placed a huge burden on caretakers–who are largely women–over the last year. However, we should carefully consider options that pro- vide the freedom of sustainable, affordable options for caretakers rather than a costly system that removes choices for their families. Make no mistake, if the federal government funds one form of childcare, then other options are crowded out. Instead, there should be affordable solutions for parental freedom and a better utilization of existing funds for childcare under TANF and other state workforce programs.

“Despite spending trillions on social service programs, generations of Americans have become trapped in a cycle of government dependency leaving them unable to realize the full extent of the American dream. This expansion of social service programs will be no different. Instead of bankrupting future generations, it’s time to give Americans the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families,” said Daniel Erspamer, Chief Executive Officer at Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

“When writing public policy, we must carefully weigh the long term effects those policies might have on the very people we are attempting to help. What works in the short term may not help over the long haul,” said Randy Hicks, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Center for Opportunity

Americans can’t afford Sen. Bernie Sanders’ unprecedented spending and taxing along with continual borrowing against our future, especially at this critical time in the pandemic recovery. The Alliance for Opportunity urges an approach that puts families and local communities at the center of solutions for childcare, education, and middle class job opportunities, not politicians in D.C. or elsewhere.

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Voted to Cut Charter Schools Program Funding

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Voted to Cut Charter Schools Program Funding

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Voted to Cut Charter Schools Program Funding

middle school charter school

Lawmakers Stifle Learning 

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee recently voted to cut $40 million from the federal Charter Schools Program, in addition to placing new burdensome restrictions on how charter schools operate. In response, the Georgia Center for Opportunity has signed on to a letter—along with 70 other organizations—urging Congress to restore the funding.

 

Buzz media statement
President Biden to reinstate the work search requirements for unemployment benefits

President Biden to reinstate the work search requirements for unemployment benefits

President Biden to reinstate the work search requirements for unemployment benefits

President Joe Biden has instructed the federal Department of Labor to work with state labor commissioners to reinstate the work search requirements for unemployment benefits.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “Detaching the work-search requirement from unemployment benefits served an important purpose during the worst of the pandemic, but that time is now long past,” said Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy. “This move by President Biden signals an important return to normal as the economy recovers and people get back to work. Indeed, in many counties across our state we’re seeing a surplus of jobs that pay a decent wage, with more openings than there are candidates actively looking. The safety-net is important, but it should be a temporary measure to get people back to work.”

 

Unemployment Figures for the U.S. Contrary to Analysts’ Expectations

Unemployment Figures for the U.S. Contrary to Analysts’ Expectations

Unemployment Figures for the U.S. Contrary to Analysts’ Expectations

I want to work sign

 

At 8:30am today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released updated unemployment figures for the U.S. Contrary to analysts’ expectations, the U.S. unemployment rate increased for the first time since April 2020 to 6.1%.
 
The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “The April numbers clearly show that, sometimes, government actions meant to help people have unintended consequences,” said Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy. “Expansive unemployment benefits have prompted many low-skilled workers to remain on the sidelines of the labor force, while continued school closures across the country have prevented many women from re-entering the labor force due to a lack of childcare options. Undoubtedly, many workers are still concerned about catching COVID-19. The reasons for these lackluster employment numbers are varied, but what we do know is that the system designed to help those in need during these troubling times is, in fact, incentivizing dependence. If we believe work is vital not only for a paycheck but for a sense of purpose and belonging in life, then we must prioritize helping people find work and then get the training needed to ‘upskill’ into better, higher paying jobs. That is the best path for recovery. That is a path that respects those in crisis.”
Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to sign Senate Bill 47

Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to sign Senate Bill 47

Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to sign Senate Bill 47

At 3:30pm today, Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to sign Senate Bill 47, a measure that makes vital improvements and updates to the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the measure passed the House 91-71 and the Senate 3-23.

 

Among other key changes, SB47 will:

  • Expand the program to include a limited list of students with special needs (including autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and dyslexia) who have a 504 plan and formal diagnosis from a licensed doctor.
  • Allow students who attended a public special needs preschool in Georgia to participate.
  • Allow students with special needs who are adopted from foster care to access the program immediately.
  • Make other updates to the scholarship program in line with the renewed need among families for help due to COVID-19.
The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “Gov. Kemp and lawmakers in the General Assembly have done right by Georgia’s special-needs community, and we applaud them for it,” said Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy. “Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic where so many families of students with special needs suffered disproportionately due to closed classrooms, it’s unconscionable to think we wouldn’t do everything in our power to lighten their load. This is an important first step as we move toward helping more marginalized communities access quality education options.”

 

Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law House Bill 146

Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law House Bill 146

Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law House Bill 146

Today, Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law House Bill 146, a measure that provides three weeks of paid time off for Georgia statement government employees after the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “Policymakers at the federal and state level should continue seeking ways to help employers and parents find paid parental leave solutions. The policy goals of maintaining employment for parents and strengthening the bond between parents and their children are critically important to the health of our society and create an opportunity for all our citizens to lead flourishing lives,” Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy.

 

“The challenge is how to pay for parental leave for employees at small and mid-sized businesses. Some might argue that the government should simply mandate businesses offer this benefit. But a government mandate or tax-based solution would disproportionately hurt. It’s important to remember that small businesses are particularly vital to low-income communities. Placing a heavy burden on these businesses may end up doing more harm than good to the very people we seek to help.”