February 26, 2013


DE: Why Privatize the Port Now? The Kinder Morgan proposal to privatize the Port of Wilmington ought to be much in the news this week. . .One of the things I want to point out today, and I’m hoping that decision-makers keep in mind, is that while DEDO was publicly touting an investment partnership to build out the Port, their RFP (released approx 2 months prior to this article) included a privatization option that customers and businesses at the Port did not know until months later. And still, this privatization deal is quite different than from the talking points DEDO was using to promote this deal as an expansion opportunity. DelawareLiberal

PA: LCB officials say state holding them back. The agency that runs Pennsylvania’s liquor stores says that even in the face of Gov. Corbett’s efforts to privatize its retail and wholesale operations, it is more productive than ever. LCB brass said they have been turning more than $100 million a year in profit for the last several years – and kicking more than $80 million of that into the state’s cash-strapped coffers. . . Yet LCB board member Robert Marcus contended that the agency is operating on a scaled-down staff while the Corbett administration refuses to sign off on filling key vacant positions. . .The testimony was the first public sign that some officials at the agency may start fighting back as the governor and fellow Republicans in the House work on a measure to auction off the state’s 600-plus wine and spirits stores to the private sector.  Philadelphia Inquirer

FL: Best intentions, worst results at Largo work release center. Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have been hellbent on privatizing prisons throughout Florida. The governor’s latest budget proposes privatizing 14 more work-release centers this year. The philosophy is that private companies — either for-profit industries or nonprofits such as Goodwill — are able to run prisons at a considerably lower cost than the state can. Yet no one bothers to ask how private companies can be so much cheaper. And maybe that’s because the reason is too scary to contemplate. Could it be that private groups hire fewer — and less-qualified — employees to run their prisons?  Tampabay.com

WI: Rep. Sondy Pope: Roaring down road to school privatization. Before discussing exactly what our governor and Republican leaders are proposing for K-12 education in this budget, it is worth rehashing our previous budget, which required public schools to make extreme fiscal sacrifices ($1.6 billion in lost revenue) in the name of austerity. But in that very same budget, the state found enough money to expand private school voucher offerings and increase overall voucher spending. The Cap Times

KY: Bill Would Allow Public-Private Partnerships For Big Construction Projects. The bill doesn’t specifically name any projects, but Kentucky currently has multiple instances where the bill could help work start, namely the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky and Interstate 69 in western Kentucky. . .  In public-private partnerships, companies contribute to the construction costs in exchange for access to revenue sources, such as tolls. Under Overly’s bill, the public-private option would be available only to so-called mega-projects, which is any project which costs more than $500 million.  WKU Public Radio

LA: Tuition increase likely for state schools. The recommendation, which has to go in front of the legislature in April, coincides with Gov. Bobby Jindal budget proposal, which calls for a cut in $200 million in higher education and increased tuition. . . .Rasberry said nationally higher education is gradually shifting from public to privatization funding. NOLA.com

Sequestration Puts Spotlight on America’s Dangerously Overcrowded Federal Prisons. We also know that immigration enforcement programs like Operation Streamline contribute to this unsustainable prison growth. Operation Streamline is a “zero-tolerance” program that requires the federal criminal prosecution and imprisonment of all unlawful border crossers in designated sectors. The program annually sweeps in tens of thousands of migrant workers with no criminal history  and is a major contributor to prison overcrowding, privatization and the soaring federal rate of Hispanic and Latino incarceration.            ACLU

How the religious right is undermining education.  It is critical that Americans recognize not only the intent to privatize our schools but the vast Christian Right agenda behind it. Salon