January 3, 2013


PA: Gov. Corbett’s trip paid for by a businessman is subject of a complaint

Harrisburg area activist Gene Stilp wants federal, state and county prosecutors to review Gov. Tom Corbett’s acceptance of a trip from a Pennsylvania businessman who contributed to Corbett’s campaign and serves on his privatization council….Moran and his wife, Ann, gave Corbett’s campaign more than $100,000 since 2009, according to state campaign finance reports. Moran was appointed last year to Corbett’s Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation. He also co-chairs the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, a not-for-profit business group that receives funding from the state. Stilp’s complaints point to the Code of Conduct for executive branch officials that bars the governor from accepting gifts from parties that have or are seeking to do business with the commonwealth.  The Patriot News

VA: Bill would give Legislature say on ports privatization deals

A bill the state Legislature will take up this session would give lawmakers the power to say “yea” or “nay” to any sale of state-owned ports. The bill’s author, Del. Harry R. “Bob” Purkey, R-Virginia Beach, said he is targeting the type of port privatization deals currently before state officials.  Daily Press

VA: Latest Dulles Toll Road price hike fueling renewed protest

The latest toll hikes on the Dulles Toll Road that went into effect on Jan. 1 may have rekindled the protest over how the new Silver Line is being financed, WTOP reported. The tolls went up 25 cents to $1.75 at the main toll plaza, and a larger hike is scheduled for the next two years. NoTOLLincrease.org, a citizens group that has been fighting the tolls for months, is now circulating a petition asking the state to consider two other alternatives to the tolls. Washington Business Journal

AR: Arkansas privatizes high school diploma program

Individuals seeking a GED have always enrolled and tested for free in Arkansas–one of the last states to offer it at no cost. But by 2014, the program will be privatized and digitized–and students will be charged a hefty fee.  KUAF/NPR

TN: School vouchers debate continues

The six municipal mayors in Shelby County will return to closed door talks Thursday about the future of a merged school system….Memphis Education Association President Keith Williams said school vouchers are not a friend of public education.“Vouchers take public money and give it to private coffers. I have never supported it.  Nor has the NEA, TEA nor MEA,” said Williams.  WMC-TV

Food & Water Watch Criticizes USDA on Australia’s ‘Privatized Meat Inspection’

Food & Water Watch is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to review its decision to allow the newly privatized meat inspection system of Australia to be considered equivalent to U.S. inspection, according to a press release by the group. “Documents from USDA and Australian officials reveal that this is not an isolated problem,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The repeated problems with products coming from Australia in 2012 show that this is a systemic problem and that privatized meat inspection in Australia is not working.” Food Safety News



January 2, 2013


PA: Talks to privatize Pa. Lottery management extended

A potential deal to privatize management of the Pennsylvania Lottery was put off for an additional 10 days on Monday after Gov. Tom Corbett and a British company agreed to extend negotiations. Hours before the $34 billion bid by Camelot Global Services PA LLC was set to expire, Corbett’s Revenue Department announced the bid was extended until Jan. 10.  GoErie.com

PA: Democrats question bid to privatize Pa. lottery

Democratic lawmakers are taking aim at Republican Gov. Tom Corbett administration’s move to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery’s management, saying it is shrouded in secrecy and will result in a corporate giveaway that diverts hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s services for the elderly.  Reading Eagle

NJ: Editorial: Legislative hearings needed on lottery bid

If it isn’t broke, why fix it? That’s the question many people have been asking since Gov. Chris Christie announced plans last year to privatize New Jersey’s successful state lottery. And while the executive branch is within its right to pursue privatization, the importance of lottery revenue to the state’s budget picture would argue for legislative hearings before any final agreement is signed — especially since the governor last week accepted a single bid, by Northstar New Jersey, on the 15-year contract. At the very least, the Legislature should insist that Christie explain precisely how the contract wound up with a single bidder — a consortium of three companies that had originally expressed interest. Industry sources said that such a consortium making a single bid is often necessary, given how complicated running a state lottery can be. All the more reason to hold hearings on precisely how the arrangement will work.  Asbury Park Press

CA: California Toll Bonds Hampered by Freeways: Muni Credit

Even in traffic-clogged Southern California, too few drivers want to spend as much as $6.25 to travel 12 miles on toll roads. Their reluctance is leading one highway agency to extend $2.4 billion in debt payments by as much as 12 years as investors demand more to hold its securities. Orange County’s 51 miles (82 kilometers) of toll highways, the most extensive system in the world’s ninth-biggest economy, have fallen short of revenue projections since opening in the 1990s as the two managing agencies raise fares and refinance $4.5 billion in outstanding debt issued to build them. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is looking into whether the authorities even will be able to raise money for escalating bond payments.  Bloomberg

IN: Indiana a changed state under 8 years of Daniels

Efforts to privatize the state’s welfare system, cut funding to Planned Parenthood, bar employers from requiring union dues of workers and create the voucher program sparked numerous legal battles, some of which will continue long past the end of his term Jan. 14.  San Francisco Chronicle

FL: Letter: Privatization helping middle class disappear

Since privatization almost always results in a union job being replaced with a non-union one, management can pretty well dictate the terms. Compared to a government job, salaries in a private firm are usually not too much lower, but benefits will be radically reduced, and anyone who complains about it can be laid off without cause. The net result is top management receives a much bigger share of the pie, while the rank and file have to make do with less. And we wonder why the middle class is disappearing. I submit that privatization is a major factor. Florida Today           

VA: New year brings increased rates on Dulles Toll Road

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced the fare increases in November, saying they were necessary to finance the completion of the ongoing Dulles Metro Project.  Washington Business Journal