April 24, 2013


IL: Parking Deal a Windfall for Private Company. It costs a lot to park in Chicago. Of that there is no denial. The private company that oversees on street parking in Chicago has seen revenue increase by 368 percent since 2008. That was the year the Daley administration pushed through a controversial plan to relinquish the city’s hold over 36,000 parking meters in exchange for a $1.2 billion payout. In 2008, the last year the city collected parking meter revenue, it totaled $23.3 million. In 2011, the last year figures were available, Chicago Parking Meters, LLC took in $109.3 million, according to figures released through a Freedom of Information Act request. NBC Chicago

PA: City hires 2 firms to seek PGW bids. The city has retained the banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. as lead broker to sell Philadelphia Gas Works, the latest move in the Nutter administration’s effort to privatize the utility. The bankers could earn more than $12 million in fees if they are able to fetch the $1.85 billion that the city’s financial advisers last year estimated to be the high end of the utility’s value. The brokers will work on a commission-only basis. Nutter has pushed forward to explore a sale over the objections of PGW’s union, the city’s public advocate, and some City Council members. The mayor has said he would sell PGW only if the price were right. Philly.com

PA: Hearings set on bill to privatize liquor stores. The first of what will likely be three state Senate hearings on a controversial bill to privatize Pennsylvania’s government-run wine and liquor stores has been scheduled for next Tuesday in the Capitol – and it is bound to be telling. That the bill has few ardent fans in the Senate is no secret. Republicans who control the chamber have strongly signaled they are leaning toward modernizing, rather than privatizing, the State-Store system.  Philly.com

PA: If Pennsylvania privatizes alcohol, will drinking increase? It’s a simple, critical, and sobering question at the heart of the debate over privatizing state liquor stores: Will Pennsylvanians drink more booze if sales are wrested from government control? Advocates say liquor privatization would mean more convenience, better selection, and lower prices. But public-health experts say reducing the government’s role in alcohol sales comes with a potentially harmful downside – people buy more of the alcoholic beverage that is privatized. Philly.com

PA: Pennsylvania, nurses’ union argue over closures of state public health centers. Attorneys for the Commonwealth and a union representing public health nurses argued in court today over whether the state has the authority to close nearly half its state public health centers without the approval of the Legislature. The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania says a 1996 state law forbids the administration from closing such centers without the Legislature’s OK. But the state says the law in question applied to a previous effort to privatize the centers and the legislation shouldn’t be broadly construed to stop the Corbett administration’s plan in this case. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

NC: Asheville Docs on Gov McCrory’s Medicaid Privatization Plan: Shortsighted. At a meeting yesterday in Asheville, Governor McCrory’s DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos met with heavy skepticism from about 200 local providers and citizens who came to hear about the Governor’s plan to privatize Medicaid health services for the poor. The Progressive Pulse

PR: Airport Privatization Takes Off in Puerto Rico. The deal has come under withering criticism from many on the island. Numerous elected officials, lawyers and economists have denounced it as a bad bargain for Puerto Rico. Major protests roiled San Juan prior to the transfer two months ago. Puerto Ricans now worry that their publicly owned ports, highways and other public goods will be sold off, liquidating a century of public investments. Indeed, two highways have already been handed over to private investors prior to the airport’s transfer. Similar privatization agreements may soon arrive in Illinois and other states, where local leaders are considering selling airports under long-term lease agreements to private operators, most of them European, Australian and Latin America companies. Truth-Out