(The Center Square) — King Randall saw the graduation rate of his local school district and knew something was wrong, particularly with some students graduating “functionally illiterate.”
“We have the highest graduation rate in the state of Georgia, but only 12% of our students are graduating school proficient in math,” Randall said. “That’s crazy. So, I don’t even understand how we’re graduating students.”
He knew he couldn’t stand on the sidelines and watch. Jumping into action, he started the “X” for Boys program and the Life Preparatory School for Boys in Albany.
Despite his success, Georgia’s regulations often make it challenging for businesses to succeed or even open.
“We keep begging the same system that’s trying to hurt our children to change it,” Randall said during Americans for Prosperity-GA’s inaugural Pathway to Prosperity Summit. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
“What benefit does it give the government to teach children the right thing?” Randall added. “It gives them no benefit. They benefit from us being stupid. They benefit from us being crazy. They benefit from us not knowing what we’re supposed to know. So, why [do] we keep asking them to do better when that’s not their agenda.”
Katie Chubb, owner and founder of the Augusta Birth Center, saw first-hand how regulations can stifle new business. She is working with AFP-GA to repeal the state’s certificate of need mandate, which Augusta hospitals have used to keep her from opening a birth center in a state with a high infant mortality rate.
Moderator Erick Erickson, a Georgia-based syndicated radio host, said part of the problem stems from a political shift the state experienced in the last 15-20 years as many state lawmakers switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
“For a very long time in this state, we were governed by people with a D next to their name,” Erickson said. “Then we were governed by people with an R next to their name, and many of the people who had an R next to their name [previously] had a D next to their name, and they changed the letter to stay in power.
“And so their thinking was still the same as the Ds — change the letter but not your thinking,” Erickson added. “And part of the problem with that is we have deep regulations within the state of Georgia that are sometimes bad for business and bad for individuals.”
Tony Harrison, president of the Food Truck Association of Georgia, saw the need for a group to fight to change food truck regulations, which previously required food truck operators to obtain a permit in every county where they operated. However, with the passage of House Bill 1443 in 2022, food trucks with up-to-date permits can operate in multiple counties without needing a permit for every jurisdiction.
“We’ve almost doubled the number of food trucks in the state, and our membership has gone from about 40-50 to now over 125 active members and close to 1,000 mobile food units in the state of Georgia,” Harrison said.
Next, he plans to work on local government regulations, specifically around their requirements for fire inspections.
“The local government issue is definitely still alive and well,” Harrison said. “What we attempted to do was change it on a state and county level, but local governments still have the autonomy to do what they want and have certainly put up a lot of roadblocks and continue to do that.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor