July 29, 2013


NY: Tax Watch: Flaws undermine Yonkers schools privatization plan (video). The plan to privatize Yonkers’ $1.7 billion school construction program is on the rocks. Two weeks ago, a blue-ribbon commission headed by former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky issued a stinging critique of what’s called the Public-Private-Partnership, , or P3 model. It concluded that the plan was so riddled with errors and unsupported assumptions that taxpayers wouldn’t save $63 million over 35 years as touted by consultant firm KPMG.  In fact, the Brodsky commission found that “serious flaws” in the plan had inflated the projected savings by at least $200 million, creating a yawning hole to be filled by cash-strapped Yonkers taxpayers. The Journal News

CA: Save the Berkeley Post Office Protesters Set up Camp. More than 100 people, including some who say they plan to camp out, have gathered in front of a historic post office in Berkeley to protest its closure. The protesters represent the groups Save the Berkeley Post Office and Strike Debt Bay Area and are holding a demonstration and teach-in on the privatization of public services in front of the post office at 2000 Allston Way.  “We’re fighting to save it, and we’re not going to stop,” protester Moni Law said.  NBC Bay Area

ME: Alfond attacks new Portland charter school for aligning with ‘extreme organization’. Baxter Academy for Technology and Science, a new charter school set to open this fall in Portland, will host a policy luncheon next week that is sponsored by the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center.,,,[N]ext Wednesday’s “Friedman Legacy Day” at the school is an annual event that nationally honors the late Milton Friedman,,,Alfond told the Bangor Daily News on Friday that he is troubled by Baxter Academy aligning itself with the conservative think tank, which formerly employed Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen and other past and current members of Gov. Paul LePage’s administration.  Bangor Daily News           

TX: TxDot moving toward toll roads. “These public/private partnerships is where they sell of our roads to these, mostly foreign, private companies,” says Terri Hall, President of the grassroots group Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, or TURF. “And the first foreign-owned toll road in Texas that opened is not even getting half the traffic that was projected.”But the most outrageous part is, if the toll revenue doesn’t meet its target, the state guarantees the difference. That would come from the Highway Fund, which is already strapped. “It basically puts all Texas taxpayers on the hook to pay back these private toll operators,” Hall declared.“The House didn’t pass them, the Senate didn’t pass them. So Txdot decides they’re going to do an end run around the House rule and get what they want anyway. It’s wrong,” says Eltife. In addition, there would be no competitive bidding on the projects. KETK

PA: Anyone remember Lottery privatization? “Why is Gov. Corbett so intent on privatizing a lottery that has been a national model for decades and just delivered more than $1 billion in programs that help senior citizens?” asked House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D- Allegheny, tells Swift.  PennLive.com

AZ: Openness lost in privatization. A push toward the privatization of state services is spawning criticism from those who see the trend as the decline of government transparency and accountability. Muskogee Daily Phoenix