August 22, 2012


NY: NYC Controller criticizes Mayor for considering privatizing parking meters.  City Controller John Liu predicts parking rates would rise “all because of the mayor’s belief that private firms do a better job than city workers.”… The city hasn’t said whether it will sign a contract with a private company to run its 90,000 meters, acknowledging only that it is exploring a more cost-effective system. Labor officials say privatization could cost 200 union jobs.  New York Daily News

NJ: N.J. may privatize parts of state lottery operation. New Jersey wants to outsource some of the functions of its state lottery. The state is requesting proposals from private companies to manage the lottery sales, marketing and development of its games… Analysts are concerned that the state would have to share lottery revenue with a private operator. That’s the down side to outsourcing some lottery operations, says Patricia McQueen, a gambling industry analyst. “No private company is going to come in if they can’t make money at it. So you’re basically sharing whatever profits the lottery is generating with somebody else,” she said. “Yes, you’re getting money up front. But then you’re obviously giving up some over the years because obviously those companies want to make money.”  Newsworks

PA: Pa. ethics panel investigating three Liquor Control officials. The state Ethics Commission has launched an inquiry into allegations that three top officials at the Liquor Control Board accepted gifts and favors last year from vendors and other businesses with an interest in liquor regulation.  Ethics Commission officials have interviewed at least five employees of the LCB, most of them in the last week, about the allegations contained in a confidential report completed in March by the Inspector General’s Office and forwarded to Corbett administration officials. Philadelphia Inquirer

PA: Charter schools drain much needed funds – opinion.  Charter schools drain precious resources from our already cash-strapped public schools, which increases the cost of educating those who remain at traditional district-run schools. Moreover, studies show that nearly half of Pennsylvania charter-school students perform significantly worse than students at district-run public schools. But school privatization is big business, and some of the big businesses behind it in our state are also contributors to Corbett. Not-for-profit charter schools are often controlled by for-profit companies, which charge large management fees that come out of the public’s pocket.

Proposal to privatize Social Security rears its ugly head again. Despite two major stock market crashes since 2000, the idea of privatizing Social Security is creeping back into public debate via the presidential campaign. Los Angeles Times

School vouchers make a comeback amid concerns about quality. Across the country, vouchers have resurged in a big way over the last two years—both as a form of school choice and a political lightning rod. Republican governors in Louisiana, Indiana, New Jersey and other states have championed them as a solution to the challenges besetting public education. More recently, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined the chorus, saying he hopes to turn an eight-year-old voucher program in Washington, D.C. into a “national showcase.” …Much of the debate over vouchers centers on whether they should exist at all (partly because the term is so combustible, many politicians have opted for the milder term “scholarship” to describe new programs). But in states like Louisiana and Wisconsin, where vouchers are already a fait accompli, policymakers are just as divided over how much government regulation participating private schools should face.   NBC News


School Choice Is the Tip of a Titanic Iceberg. Privatizing Social Security, regressive tax plans, reduced regulation, smaller government, systematic attacks on labor unions, reduced support of public secondary and post-secondary education — all of these things are intended to move from America’s historic social contract to bare knuckles individualism. Though the Romney/Ryan Randian lens, collectivism is weakness — nanny state, welfare dependence, affirmative action, wealth redistribution — that throttles the great engine of prosperity, which is driven by noble individual effort and pure merit. For several hundred years our nation has refined an elegant balance between the promise of individual opportunity and our obligation to one another.  Huffington Post