November 5, 2012


IN: Critics say plans for outsourced Indiana lottery target more play by low-income people

Critics question whether a private manager’s plans for the Hoosier Lottery may profit from those least able to afford to play. Rhode Island-based GTECH last month won the deal to manage key state lottery operations…. However, the plan does list six retail chains as potential targets for expansion: Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, CVS and Walgreens. Julia Vaughn, public policy director for Common Cause Indiana, noted that some of those stores aren’t likely to locate in affluent neighborhoods. “Everyone knows lotteries prey on low-income people,” she said. “There aren’t a whole lot of Dollar Generals up in Carmel.” Greenfield Daily Reporter

IN: Indiana University Taps Goldman as Advisor for Parking Privatization

Indiana University has tapped Goldman Sachs  to act as an advisor on a proposed privatization of the university’s parking system that would raise cash to help offset falling state aid. The firm will work with the university for six to nine months. If IU decides to solicit bids, Goldman will help evaluate the responses, according to the school.  The Bond Buyer ($)

FL: Florida’s failure to protect children – editorial

The Tampa Bay Times last week published a series of articles by staff writer Alexandra Zayas that detail how Florida’s privatized and porous regulatory system of religious group homes and so-called boarding schools allowed several institutions to flourish that repeatedly beat, ridiculed and isolated children….Last week, the agency said it had discovered even more irregularities. The Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies, the private agency that accredits group homes that obtain a religious exemption under an ill-advised 1984 state law, is finally considering tightening its child protection standards. For example, the group is moving to ban shackling and establish strict procedures for corporal punishment. But that’s not enough. The revised standards would still fall below the state’s requirements and no one, given FACCCA’s enforcement record, should be satisfied. Tampa Bay Times

LA: Booted lawmakers lash out at speaker

…Their removal by Kleckley was apparently fallout for their opposition to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to privatize the administration of an Office of Group Benefits health plan by turning it over to Blue Cross Blue Shield. The administration pulled its OGB proposal during an Appropriations Committee meeting Thursday when it became apparent the plan would die but promised to bring it back for consideration…. “The speaker and the administration don’t seem comfortable with members asking questions,” Henry said. “They want us to just trust them and vote yes. They have always seemed more interested in policy than in the people the policy affects. That’s why we’ve been at odds since last year’s budget process.” In the meantime, the spokesman for Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said it was an oversight for there to be a “For Rent” sign in front of the Office of Group Benefits’ regional office in Monroe at North 19th Street.  Monroe Star News

Sandy’s Wrath Gives Obama Boost in Debate on Federal Role 

After Sandy, Romney aides had to rush to explain a statement the candidate made in a June 2011 Republican primary debate that he might shift the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s duties to the states or the private sector. Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Romney wouldn’t abolish FEMA if elected. Romney repeatedly declined to answer questions about the statement that reporters shouted out at campaign events.  Bloomberg

WHY IT MATTERS: Infrastructure

Mitt Romney favors less involvement by the federal government in infrastructure, preferring to let states lead the way. Romney shuns the idea that public-works spending is a good way to jumpstart the economy, saying decisions on worthy projects should be based on need and potential returns. Romney also wants to privatize Amtrak by ending federal subsidies for the money-losing passenger rail system. He’s OK with borrowing to pay for megaprojects if there’s a revenue stream to pay the money back, like tolls or port fees.  AP

Privatizing marriage

The primary argument for this change of policy is that the state allegedly has no business regulating marriage, which is a complex cultural and religious practice. However, the state does have an interest in promoting private caregiving within families — the care of children, elderly parents and sick or disabled relatives. According to advocates for marriage privatization, the state can better pursue its interest in promoting nongovernmental forms of caregiving by establishing and regulating civil unions for all who qualify, and steering clear of defining, interfering with or regulating “marriage.”  New York Times