May 8, 2013


States accuse prison food contractor of overbilling. Aramark, the company Michigan officials have selected to provide meals for about 45,000 state prisoners, has skimped on food and overbilled corrections departments in other states, according to audit reports. Florida and Aramark parted ways in 2008 after the state repeatedly fined the company for contract violations and an audit accused Aramark of cutting costs and boosting profits by skimping on meals. In Kentucky, corrections officers and others said a 2009 prison riot was provoked by poor food service by Aramark, state Rep. Brent Yonts, a Democrat from Greenville, said Monday.  USA TODAY

WA: Small liquor stores struggling to compete with big retail. Almost a year after the state privatized liquor sales, more and more small, independent stores around the Puget Sound region are going under. They complain they can’t compete with big retail and grocery stores. “It’s aggravating – there’s not much we can really do about it,” said Sean Niesel…. Lower prices at nearby grocery stores are driving their stores out of business… The trouble began last year when voters passed Initiative 1183 to privatize liquor sales. Immediately, liquor manufacturers offered big-box stores and grocery chains huge discounts for buying bulk, while smaller store owners still pay the full wholesale price. Add on top that 17 percent state tax and store owners say it’s impossible to compete. KOMO News

PA: More bad news for Gov. Corbett: Support slipping for sale of liquor stores. The poll found 31 percent strongly oppose privatization, up from 24 percent in February, while the number of people who strongly support the effort dropped from 34 percent to 30 percent in the same period. One thing remains unchanged in the poll: Corbett’s job approval rating is so low that just one in four voters thinks he deserves a second four-year term in 2014.

MI: Stephen Henderson: Running prisons for profit so wrong, it’s almost criminal. Privatization works best in parts of government where the profit motive aligns closely with the need to provide a direct, definable service to constituents. Think garbage collection. Or some parts of public works or transportation. But where the success of government is measured more in social than economic terms, the profit motive can be a confounding factor, and privatization can actually lead to worse results.  That’s what we’re seeing in Michigan’s prison system, which nearly everyone agrees is both bloated with expenses and is producing less-than-desired outcomes. Detroit Free Press

NJ: As NJ considers privatizing auto inspections, contract extended for state examiner. Martinez says more than 80 percent of inspections in New Jersey are done at the state facilities, but the nationwide trend is toward privatization. He said a consultant will examine whether to privatize the entire inspection system.

NV: Subcommittee nixes toll roads in Southern Nevada. A legislative subcommittee closed the door Tuesday on plans by the state Department of Transportation to install toll stations, mostly in Southern Nevada. The Senate-Assembly budget subcommittee rejected the recommendation of Gov. Brian Sandoval to spend up to $60,000 in each of the next two years to work with private companies to install toll stations on some of the major roads. Senate Bill 485 to authorize the HOT lanes died in the Assembly Transportation Committee, but the money for the proposal was still included in the department’s budget. Under the pooling motorists to travel at no charge. A single driver in these lanes would be charged a fee. Las Vegas Sun

NY: Suffolk County Executive mulls privatization of county-run health clincs. Recently, Hudson River Health Care sent in a proposal to take over the county clinic in Southampton….Bellone says he is considering handing over the other six county clinics to the company….. Suffolk’s Legislature is expected to vote on whether to privatize the Southampton clinic in June.. News 12 Long Island