April 16, 2013


WI: Wisconsin to pay $6.3 million more annually for LogistiCare replacement. State taxpayers will be shelling out an extra $6.3 million per year for medical transportation for Wisconsin Medicaid recipients once MTM Inc. takes over for LogistiCare, according to a Journal Sentinel analysis of bids. Just a few years ago, state officials estimated that having a private firm dispatch rides would save the state $4 million a year. The Journal Sentinel analysis raises questions about whether the privatization really saves state taxpayers money. Journal Sentinel

IL: Chicago City Council effort to regulate privatization bogs down. Introduced last November by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance has been bottled up in Ald. Dick Mell’s (33rd) Rules Committee, even though a majority of the City Council members have signed on as co-sponsors. The ordinance would require a hearing on privatization proposals involving an asset valued at $250,000 or more. It also would require a cost-effectiveness study, competitive bidding and other reforms. Until now, plans to privatize services or assets have tended to stay under the radar until the last moment, keeping public scrutiny to a minimum.  Chicago Sun Times

NY: Privatization of the Commons in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York – Part I….But last month, quietly, and without any public notification, Washington Square Park too fell victim to the Bloomberg Administration’s penchant for privatizing “the commons,” and management and control of the famed “town square” was handed over to a newly created private Conservancy, whose director also just happens to take home a salary from … take a guess… the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.  Huffington Post

PA: Third Pa. state agency points to potential legal problems in Corbett’s private lottery deal. The chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board wrote in a letter last month that the proposed contract documents are ambiguous and do not say clearly what kinds of new gambling Camelot Global Services would be allowed to operate.  As a result, it is impossible to say whether it infringes on the gaming board’s authority under state casino gambling laws or creates illegal forms of gambling, the board’s top lawyer, Douglas Sherman, wrote.  The Republic

ID: Company that runs Idaho’s largest private prison says employees falsified staffing records. A private company that operates Idaho’s largest prison acknowledged Thursday that its employees falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records over seven months last year in violation of its contract with the state. Corporation of America is the latest in a string of staffing problems alleged or being investigated at the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise. Earlier this year, the Idaho Department of Correction asked state police to investigate staffing discrepancies at the lockup.  Washington Post

CA: Conservative Think Tank Questions Toll Road Agency’s Unsustainable Financial Plan. For the second time in four months, the financial condition of Orange County’s Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), the public agency that has been trying for years to pave a toll road through San Onofre State Beach, is being called into question This time, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Pacific Research Institute, a conservative think tank based in San Francisco, has released a new analysis of TCA’s finances that concludes “the operations of these toll roads presently appear to be unsustainable and likely have been unworkable from their inception.” The report explains that TCA’s shaky financial plans and debt structure will make its financial status worse, “likely forcing a default or another restructuring.”  NRDC Swithboard

Legislative fiscal analysts question Jindal budget. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office told the Senate Finance Committee that some of the savings the governor expects through anti-fraud efforts and privatization initiatives seem to be overstated, which could throw the 2013-14 budget proposal out of balance. Shawn Hotstream, with the fiscal office, said the governor’s budget for the fiscal year opening July 1 might have underestimated how much money it will cost to operate the LSU hospitals under anticipated privatization deals. San Francisco Chronicle

NH: New Hampshire Views: Private prisons were a terrible idea. Prison privatization was probably not going to happen in New Hampshire any time soon, but that doesn’t mean the state wasted the $171,000 it spent on a consultant to study the question.mIndeed, after months of reviewing four companies’ proposals to build and/or operate prisons in New Hampshire, the consultant, MGT of America, and state officials issued two reports last week that made clear just how bad an idea this was. One can only hope that it is dead beyond hope of resurrection. Concord Monitor

MD: Maryland Gives Up On Traffic Camera Reform. Photo enforcement firms also ended the day with a celebration after their investment paid off with the defeat of all legislation that might have imposed limits or quality checks on their ticketing operations…. The money flowing to Annapolis, not counting cash infusions from the insurance industry and other pro-camera lobbyists (view 2009 lobbying cash), had the intended impact. Supporters of reform started the session with significant momentum. A scandal in Baltimore revealed that more than five percent of speed camera tickets went to vehicle owners who were not speeding. A legislative audit blasted the reliability of the State Highway Administration’s freeway photo radar program. Local jurisdictions have been openly flouting provisions of the existing photo enforcement statute. TheNewspaper.com