November 14, 2012


Phony school “reform” agenda takes a beating

The media barely noticed, but voters in three states rejected the profit-driven fraud that is education “reform”.  Salon

Enrollment in Charter Schools Is Increasing

In some cities, including Detroit, St, Louis and particularly New Orleans, charter schools enroll a significant proportion of the district’s students.  New York Times

The conservative push for prison reform

Nor is this a case of corporate cronyism. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which drafts model legislation for conservative state legislatures and is a newfound supporter of prison reform, does not receive support from any prison privatization companies, and has renounced its previous support for privatization measures.  Washington Post

MI: Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept considering privatization

Dozens of Detroit residents spoke out in opposition of proposed restructuring within the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. A public hearing was held today to get the public’s input on a $48 million no-bid contract for consulting services. Residents fear that savings will come at the cost of quality and jobs, a trade-off those in attendance were not willing to make. Arguments ranged from the allegations that EMA Inc. lowers quality of water and services to the need to create jobs and not eliminate them – to the argument that the department can fix itself. WXYZ

FL:  Editorial: Florida privatization runs off the rails again

Another state agency, another privatization scheme off the rails. The account of how the Florida Division of Blind Services has failed to monitor the agency’s private vendors is just one more example for Republican Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who has been trying to bring sensible reform to the state’s privatization spree. Privatization only works well when the agency doing the hiring writes strong, service-oriented contracts and state employees provide effective oversight. Anything less is just government misfeasance.  Tampa Bay Times

PA: Hughes Questions Proposal to Privatize Lottery Management

“The Pennsylvania Lottery is an efficiently and effectively run agency that funds critical services that benefit Pennsylvania seniors.  The overall question is, why would the governor propose a privatization plan that potentially threatens to siphon off dollars intended to help seniors and pay them to a private contractor instead?” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny).- “The harsh reality is that moving into such a long-term contract as the governor has outlined would be the same as signing the mortgage to senior programs over to a private company for the next generation.”

NY: Suffering on LI as Power Agency Shows Its Flaws

Trying to fend off attacks on his oversight of the Long Island Power Authority, Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday established a high-level panel, called a Moreland Commission, to investigate how utilities across New York, including the authority, handled Hurricane Sandy and other storms. He also revived a proposal that he made in his 2010 campaign to combine the authority with other state energy agencies, but has not ruled out privatizing the authority. “I don’t believe you can fix it,” he said. “I believe it has to be overhauled and you need a new system.” New York Times

VA: Tolls on I-64 can’t replace a true solution for state roads – opinion

It seems every strategy to build new highways and tunnels in our region includes tolls. Now the state – never accused of showing munificence to Hampton Roads – is floating a proposal to toll Interstate 64 between Hampton and Richmond. Oh, goody. Soon enough, our transponders will activate after we exit our driveways or subdivisions; maybe even both. It’s getting ridiculous.  The Virginian-Pilot

VA: MWAA to vote on rates increases for Dulles Toll Road

The board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is expected to vote Wednesday to raise fees on the Dulles Toll Road. The toll increases, which have been expected, are needed in part to fund construction of the Dulles Rail extension. Washington Post




November 13, 2012T


TX: Texans call for boycott of first foreign-owned toll road

Today marks the first day Spanish toll operator, Cintra, starts charging Texas commuters tolls to use SH 130. San Antonio-based Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) and Austin-based Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) object to Texas’ first foreign-owned toll road, especially since SH 130 is part of the original Trans Texas Corridor TTC-35 (see it here). Though Cintra invented an innocuous sounding name, like the SH 130 Concession Company, make no mistake, a Spanish company, Cintra, controls and operates SH 130 for the next HALF CENTURY — and some say it represents a multi-generational theft of public assets.

TX:  Death revives questions about high-speed toll road

A Lockhart woman was killed on the Texas 130 toll road in what is believed to be the first fatality since the corridor’s new segment opened last month with an 85 mph speed limit. Houston Chronicle

WA: Charter Schools Narrowly Win Approval in Washington State

Initiative 1240, the measure that will allow 40 charter schools to open in Washington state, has passed.  Seattle Times

GA: Georgia Legislative Caucus to Join Lawsuit against Charter School Amendment

Georgia voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that will allow a state committee to authorize charter schools, but some legislators and educators are not dropping their fight to stop it.  Augusta Chronicle

PA: Power to the people – opinion

Citizens of Allentown should think twice before privatizing their water supply. Publicly owned utilities are accountable to the public that owns them. When you privatize them, you hand them over to an unaccountable board that cares about shareholders not the people. Look at how privately owned utilities work: PPL has allowed my family to freeze for four days after Superstorm Sandy. When I called, I was told to make alternate arrangements (on my dollar), which is the equivalent of saying, “Let them eat cake.” Being a virtual monopoly, PPL could take its sweet time restoring power to thousands across the Valley and do pitifully little to prevent a repeat of this event. Allentown Morning Call

VA:  State panel seeks ‘truth’ about the port’s finances

Against the backdrop of the possible privatization of the port of Hampton Roads, a state panel has asked the General Assembly’s oversight agency to take a close look at three recent studies of the port’s performance to make sure they’re presenting a fair picture. The request comes amid a morass of conflicting data about how the port is faring financially. The Virginian-Pilot

VA: Virginia studies toll options for I-64 from Richmond to Hampton

The Virginia Department of Transportation is studying whether to toll some or all of the lanes on Interstate 64 between Richmond and Hampton to pay for widening the corridor. Truckers can sound off on the proposal during three scheduled hearings in December or in writing through Jan. 7, 2013. VDOT has put forward three alternatives for the proposal, starting with a “no build” alternative. The other two alternatives involve tolls – one that would toll all lanes of traffic in both directions, and one that would toll only the new lanes being added. Land Line



November 12, 2012


MN: Lapses in prison medical care have produced tragic results for inmates

Since 2000, at least nine prisoners have died after medical care was denied or delayed by corrections staff, a Star Tribune investigation has found, and another 21 have suffered serious or critical injury. …The Minnesota Department of Corrections has contracted since 1998 with Corizon Inc., a private, for-profit corporation based in Tennessee. The firm, formerly known as Correctional Medical Services, is the nation’s biggest prison health care company, holding contracts with 31 state and local prison systems… Working for a fixed annual fee — $28 million last year — Corizon has an incentive to maintain strict cost control. A review of Corizon’s state contract shows how lean the operation can be. Doctors employed by Corizon leave their prison clinics after 4 p.m. and do not work weekends. Prison nurses generally finish their last shifts by 11 p.m.   Star-Tribune

PA: Gov. Corbett: State has ‘an obligation’ to look at privatizing state’s lottery system

On Friday the Commonwealth announced it had developed a framework for the agreement. It includes annual profit sharing requirements and that ownership and ultimate control of the system will remain in state hands. Over the next two months that state will work with selected qualified firms to nail down a contract that both sides can agree on and will review business plans to ensure the selected firm can deliver as promised…. “We’ve said from Day One we’re looking to see what all we can privatize,” said Gov. Tom Corbett on Friday at an unrelated press event..,Not everyone agrees with the state’s proposal. AFCME, which represents about 160 of the lottery’s 200-plus employees, has objected to plans to privatize management of the system. The Patriot-News

LA: Lawmaker, Jindal clash over costs of privatizing insurance benefits

A state lawmaker is questioning why, if the state is saving money through transferring state employee and retiree health insurance policies to a private management firm, Office of Group Benefits administrative costs go up $154 million in next year’s budget.  Alexandria Town Talk

TX: Central Texas 85 mph toll road now charging

The free ride has ended for drivers on the Central Texas toll road with the nation’s fastest speed limit at 85 mph. The SH 130 Concession Co. on Sunday began charging on the new segment, which is meant to help relieve traffic on Interstate 35. The company developed and manages the toll road through a contract with the Texas Transportation Commission. Motorists with state electronic toll tags must now pay about 15 cents per mile, up to $6.17 for the full 41 miles. Drivers without toll tags will be billed $8.21 for the full length. Rates are higher for trucks.  San Francisco Chronicle

FL: Critics: Florida oversight lax for contractors like LightHouse

Looking for a lesson in how government outsourcing is working in Florida? Try this: Organizations that win business with the little-known state Division of Blind Services can bill taxpayers $58 an hour for travel time to meet with a blind person. The same organizations can charge taxpayers $2,000 or more to place one phone call. If the deal sounds good for the groups that win the no-bid state contracts, it’s because it is. Why? Because the private third-party vendors largely dictate the terms and receive little oversight, former Division of Blind Services employees say.

CA: Long Beach Courthouse Cost Up to $160 Million Too Much

The independent California Legislative Analyst’s Office has found that the public-private partnership now building the state’s $490 million Gov. George Deukmejian Courthouse in downtown Long Beach is costing $160 million more than it should because cost estimates were flawed.  Long Beach Patch

CA: Los Angeles Prepares City’s First Toll Road           

Metro officials will turn on signs and computers at Los Angeles’ first toll road tonight at 10 p.m., ending the 70-year L.A. tradition of a completely “free” freeway system… The project is a one-year experiment, and Metro and Caltrans will survey traffic speeds and roadway capacity on the 110 Freeway to see if variable tolls can improve speeds. Average tolls are expected to run from $4 to $7, but could go as high as $15.40.  Woodland Hills Patch

TN: School Privatization Picks Up Steam in Memphis

A teacher writes to report that the privatization movement plans to take over her school and several others in Memphis. Tennessee now has a solid rightwing majority in the state legislature, a rightwing governor, and a TFA state commissioner dedicated to advancing privatization. Stand for Children is a major presence in the state, assuring that Wall Street money will be available to facilitate privatization and portray it as part of the “civil rights issue” of our day.  Diane Ravitch


November 9, 2012


LA:  Jindal pitches outsourcing to school board members

Gov. Bobby Jindal is seeking to rally support from local school boards in his push to outsource a public employee health insurance plan. The Jindal administration says it sent out a letter this week to school board members, describing the nearly $7 million in savings estimated for school systems by hiring a private company to run the health plan. Jindal’s proposed contract between the Office of Group Benefits and Blue Cross/Blue Shield is scheduled for a Friday vote in the House and Senate budget committees. The Daily Advertiser

LA: Florida company picked to take over state-run mental health hospital

Bobby Jindal, began a push for privatization as a way of saving the services and jobs provided by the hospital. Hospital supporters, meanwhile, said they favored keeping the hospital in public hands and viewed privatization as a less desirable alternative.

FL: Florida voters show support for an independent, nonpartisan judiciary

An overwhelming majority of Florida voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment intruding on state courts and supported the retention of three qualified Supreme Court justices — affirming the value of an independent, apolitical judiciary…The Florida GOP opposed the justices — even though the merit-retention system was intentionally designed to minimize partisan politics. Each of the justices, in turn, took the unusual step raising of $300,000 to finance advertisements emphasizing their independence. They also gained widespread support from lawyers on all sides of the legal profession.  Herald Tribune

OH: A lesson to Ohio on possible turnpike lease

Six years after the state of Indiana turned its toll road over to a private company, there are still mixed opinions on whether it was a good idea. Ohio is now thinking about doing the same thing…. In conversations with members of the local legislative delegation, all expressed doubts regarding the lease. The group fears the turnpike will remain under the control of a private company for years after the state has spent the cash from the lease deal, and that would tie up a valuable state resource for decades. In Indiana, opponents point to the fact that the state could spend the $3.8 billion from their deal within 10 years. But supporters argue the state has also set aside $500 million in a trust fund that’s expected to generate $50 million in interest each year.   WFMJ

Occupy the Prison-Industrial Complex

Only a small percentage of prisons are private, but the privatization of prisons represents the worst of corporate profiteering from human suffering. TruthOut



November 8, 2012


MI: Michigan Kills Emergency Manager Law

Voters repeal a unique, controversial law that gave state-appointed officials broad powers in struggling cities and school districts. Voters repealed Public Act 4, the law enacted by the state legislature last year, which allowed the state’s “emergency managers” to take over powers held by mayors and other locally elected officials. Emergency managers could pass ordinances, sell property, and make changes to labor contracts in struggling cities and school districts.  Governing

OH: Privatized prison in Ohio gets 2nd chance at audit

State prison officials in Ohio began a two-day inspection Wednesday of the lakeshore prison that became the nation’s first privately owned state prison last year, checking on whether dozens of safety, health and security issues uncovered in a recent audit have been fixed. Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America was rebuked by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for conditions identified in a September audit of Lake Erie Correctional Facility, in Conneaut in northern Ohio. The audit report said cells were dirty, inmates lacked clean laundry and blankets and sometimes beds and pots and pans weren’t clean. It said doors were standing open and some keys can’t be found.  Business Week

Teachers Unions Notch Big Election Wins On State Education Votes

Teachers unions won several big victories in both red and blue states Tuesday, overturning laws that would have eliminated tenure in Idaho and South Dakota, defeating a threat to union political work in California, and ousting a state schools chief in Indiana who sought to fundamentally remake public education. The night didn’t belong entirely to big labor; advocates of charter schools, which are typically non-union, scored a win in Georgia and looked likely to prevail in a tough fight in Washington state.  Huffington Post


November 7, 2012


AZ: Arizona defeats ballot measure contesting Grand Canyon ownership

Arizona voters on Tuesday defeated a ballot measure contesting ownership of the Grand Canyon and other federal lands in the state, handing another defeat to the “sagebrush revolt” by Republicans in Western states. Proposition 120, which lost by a 2-to-1 margin, would have amended the state’s constitution to declare Arizona’s sovereignty and jurisdiction over the “air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state’s boundaries.”  Chicago Tribune

LA: Vote rescheduled on La. health outsourcing plan

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is returning to lawmakers this week to ask for approval to outsource a state employee health insurance plan. Jindal’s top budget adviser shelved a vote last week when it became clear the contract between the Office of Group Benefits and Blue Cross/Blue Shield didn’t have enough votes to win passage. The meeting comes after two Republican members on the House committee were ousted from the panel, a day after they sided with opponents of Jindal’s outsourcing proposal.  CBS News

IL:  To Chicago’s mayor, some jobs are worth more than others

When the state of Illinois announced it was giving a multimillion-dollar tax break to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—one of the world’s wealthiest brokerage firms—the mayor hailed it as a boon for the local economy. The truth is that CME is cutting jobs as it moves toward electronic trading. In contrast, the mayor recently decided to pink-slip 34 city workers in a privatization deal that he says makes government more efficient. Yet the city’s only saving $100,000 by replacing these middle-class jobs—most held by black south- and west-siders—with part-timers. In short, he hails tax breaks for millionaires as economic development, and firing working-class Chicagoans as reform.  Chicago Reader

TN: TN lawmakers vying over funding for charter schools, vouchers

Tennessee lawmakers are preparing for a pitched battle over education in the upcoming session — specifically, who’s best at providing it and whether it’s right to put public education into private hands. Republicans will offer up bills that would strip local school boards of authority to approve charter schools and would grant private-school vouchers to families who couldn’t otherwise afford to pay tuition. Democrats oppose both, but the GOP heavily dominates both the state House and Senate. Democrats hope to gain allies among rural Republicans in counties where charter schools haven’t taken hold. Funneling public money to private interests could leave rural districts underfunded, they contend.   The Tennessean

CA: What’s at Stake When Billionaires Try to Buy Our Democracy

What happens if they have a free pass?  For all Californians, an open door to privatization or further underfunding of basic public services we all count on, including schools, police and fire protection, libraries, and street and other infrastructure repairs.  Huffington Post

Column: ‘Big government’ is the best way to provide necessary services

Privatizing government services doesn’t promote free-market values, because conservative politicians are creating private enterprise that is dependent on government contracts for their existence. The case of prisons in New Jersey is indicative of the growing conservative movement to privatize government and undermine necessary public services.  Public programs, if run correctly and efficiently, can provide necessary services and operate at a fraction of the cost of privately run enterprise. By maintaining necessary and basic services within the public realm and therefore removing the profit motive, you remove any possibility of cutting corners in order to maximize profits. Certain aspects of society should not be subjected to the corrosive repercussions of profit-seeking entities.  The Pitt  News

November 6, 2012


CA: Forget Prop 32, Costa Mesa’s Measure V is the real union fight

Measure V, placed on the ballot by conservative members of the City Council, would change Costa Mesa from a general law city to a charter city governed by its own constitution.  The switch would free Costa Mesa from state laws that limit its ability to privatize jobs.  Labor unions worry that other cities would follow suit. “One of our biggest concerns is that it would spread to other cities,” said Jennifer Muir, assistant general manager of the Orange County Employees Association. The proposed charter would end a requirement to pay prevailing union wages to city workers and would require voters to approve any increase in pensions.  89.3 KPCC

CA: San Bernardino to look at outsourcing Police Department

The City Council voted Monday to ask the Sheriff’s Department how much it would cost to outsource policing services, a decision opposed by most of the more than 20 residents and officers who spoke.  Redlands Daily Facts


GA: Georgia’s Voters Will Decide on Future of Charter Schools

A ballot measure in Georgia asks voters to decide on a statewide commission that could authorize new charter schools. New York Times

FL: State cuts prison health jobs

About 1,900 state workers are getting letters that their jobs soon will end as the state Department of Corrections moves forward with privatization of its health care services. Those current state employees will instead work for a private, for-profit company starting Jan. 1 when the contracts kick in. Ongoing litigation could still block the move.

PR: Privatization of Puerto Rico Airport Spurs Lobbying Effort

With Puerto Rico moving to privatize its largest airport, a Brazilian company that operates restaurants in Latin American airports has enlisted the lobbying help of some of Alston & Bird’s biggest names in Washington.  National Journal


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


November 2, 2012


LA: La. vote shelved on Jindal health outsourcing plan

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s top budget adviser scrapped a legislative vote Thursday on the governor’s proposal to outsource a state employee health insurance plan, when it became clear the contract didn’t have enough support to win approval. CBS News

FL: Fla. proposes charging Medically Needy monthly fee

State health officials are moving tens of thousands of Medicaid patients with serious medical conditions into managed care plans, but health care plans are worried the patients won’t be able to afford the proposed monthly premiums which could lead to lapses in care….[U]nder a new Medicaid privatization plan, the state is asking those patients to start paying roughly $120 a month to receive services. NECN

NE: Nebraska AG supports student newspaper’s request for health center bid records

… An independent, student-run newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan sought the attorney general’s help last month when the university refused to share contents of the private hospital company’s bid to build and operate the new center, according to the Lincoln Journal Star Andrew Dickinson, The Daily Nebraskan’s top editor, said the newspaper wanted to examine the bid so it could share with readers more details about what Bryan Health would do. “Potential privatization of the health center can affect students in a lot of ways, and those ways aren’t particularly clear at this point,” Dickinson said.  The Republic

IN: IU hires Goldman Sachs to advise on parking leases

Indiana University has hired investment banker Goldman Sachs to advise it on whether to seek a multimillion-dollar payout by turning over parking facailities on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses to a private operator. The university made the move this week after its Board of Trustees agreed last month to study the possibility of a 30- or 50-year lease. Some trustees and faculty representatives have questioned whether it would be a good move. Indianapolis Business Journal

Former Career Education CEO Under Investor Fire

The former CEO of a massive for-profit college cannot dismiss claims that he lied about job-placement rates, a federal judge ruled. Career Education Corporation (CEC), headquartered in Schaumberg, Ill., is one of the largest for-profit colleges in the nation. It runs more than 90 campuses in the United States and Europe, and serves more than 100,000 students. Since CEC derives almost all revenue from federal financial aid to students under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, accreditation with the U.S. Department of Education is essential for the school to stay in business, according to the complaint.  Courthouse  News

Sandy helps change minds about FEMA

Chris Christie, whose ambitious plan to privatize much of the services now offered by that state, including public schools, state parks, psychiatric hospitals, car emissions tests and turnpike toll booths, is often viewed as a hero by those pushing the privatization of public services. Yet, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, he has morphed into one of the biggest supporters of FEMA.  Worcester Telegram

Scary Movie 6: Scenes From Romney’s FEMA Privatization

ROMNEY ON FUNDING FEMA: “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”  Huffington Post


November 1, 2012


FL: FDOC Asks Fla. Legislature For Money Back From Failed Prison Privatization Plan

The Florida Department of Corrections is hoping the Florida Legislature will give them back about 11 million dollars that was taken out of its budget when lawmakers planned to privatize about 30 prisons in South Florida…. “We’re just asking for the restoration of the 7-percent savings, which was $10.8 million. When they cut our budget the previous year, and the privatization didn’t move forward, we did not get restored the seven-percent,” said Mark Tallent, the department’s Director of Budget and Finance. WFSU

IN: IU Hires Goldman Sachs To Evaluate Parking Privatization

Indiana University officials have hired investment banking firm Goldman Sachs to analyze its parking operations and determine if it makes economic sense to find a private vendor to run them.  IndyPublicMedia

PA: Hurricane Sandy may fuel public-private partnerships in rebuilding efforts

Under a “P3” law Gov. Corbett signed over the summer, Pennsylvania has convened a committee of pro-development “rock stars”.   For example, builders might propose projects to add toll lanes on I-95, a second deck on the Schuylkill Expressway, a toll bridge on Route 422 over the Schuylkill, and other projects to be funded through future tolls instead of borrowed money and taxpayer annuities.  Philadelphia Inquirer

Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney’s Proposal To Privatize FEMA Is ‘Pathological’

“There’s something pathological” about “the weird Republican obsession with killing FEMA,” or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the New York Times columnist wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “It’s really hard to think of a public service less likely to be suitable for privatization.” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at a GOP primary debate last June that he would “absolutely” shut down FEMA and transfer its responsibilities to the states. “If you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better,” Romney added.  Huffington Post