May 17, 2013


PA: Pennsylvania Senate Narrows Privatization Focus. Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett’s push for total privatization of the state’s wine and spirits retail monopoly appears to be on ice, with state senators suggesting they could support some loosening of alcohol retail restrictions but not a mandatory sell-off of the state’s retail and wholesale infrastructure. Shanken News Daily

TX: Texas House kills local review of public-private projects. The Texas House has killed a provision, at the urging of Gov. Rick Perry, that would have required public-private development projects on state land to go through local zoning. Austin American-Statesman

TX: New tricks? ‘Availability payments,’ a public private partnership in sheep’s clothing. The argument by proponents is that payments to the private entity are only made if money is appropriated or ‘available,’ and that it does not constitute a debt to the state. However, this ‘tool’ puts ALL Texas taxpayers on the hook for repayment of the project. Whether it’s a toll project and revenues are inadequate to repay the obligation or debt to the private company, or a non-toll project, taxpayers are obligated to re-pay the private entity, presumably with interest. Just because the debt is off the balance sheet, doesn’t mean taxpayers are not obligated to pay it.

VA: Court decision clouds future of Virginia toll roads. One circuit court judge’s opinion that tolling in the Hampton Roads area is unconstitutional may place future public-private partnerships in Virginia in peril. Watchdog,org

LA: Bill halting Louisiana public hospital privatization tabled. A resolution immediately ceasing the state’s move toward privatizing its public hospitals was voluntarily deferred in a House committee Tuesday.

NY: Cuomo’s Energy Czar Defends Near-Privatization of LIPA Over Alternatives. The Cuomo administration’s top energy official defended a plan that would all but privatize the Long Island Power Authority, arguing that a competing proposal to restructure it as a fully municipalized public utility would be unwieldy and could perpetuate political meddling. City & State

NJ: Privatization Cost Analysis & Call Center Bills Released From Assembly Committee. The bill requires cost analysis for the privatization of contracts, among other pro-worker provisions.  The New Jersey State AFL-CIO testified in support of the bill which passed mostly on party lines….A-3775 (Wagner / Eustace), which concerns call center outsourcing was also released from the Assembly Labor Committee and supported by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.  NJ AFL

MD: Another City Forced To Refund Illegal Photo Tickets. Hagerstown, Maryland announced Wednesday that it would refund 808 illegally issued speed camera tickets. Brekford Corporation mailed the citations between the end of December and January using three automated ticketing machines that failed to meet the certification requirements of state law.