January 8, 2014


Outsourcing State and Local Government Services is About Looting. For decades, citizens have been sold on the mantra that the hungry private sector can do a better and cheaper job of providing services than “inefficient” government. Now it is true that there were some badly run government entities that have done better when privatized (the poster child is British Telecom). But particularly on the state and local level, where voters demand a high level of accountability, this premise was always dubious.  Global Economic Intersection

TX: TxDOT sticks to toll roads or no roads agenda. TxDOT has been criticized by the public over the last decade for promoting its doctrine of toll roads or no roads. After several attempts at re-making the agency and trying to convince a skeptical public that it’s changed, the leopard hasn’t changed his spots and it’s back to its old toll roads mantra at this year’s forum. On the heels of announcing an $825 million toll plan for San Antonio, TxDOT continues to hold road funds hostage to tolling….. Though the private companies tout they’re taking all the risk if the traffic doesn’t show up (a claim both Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton, Reason Foundation, and IBTTA reiterate), that’s simply not the case — they get public subsidies on the front end for construction and taxpayer-backed profit guarantees on the back end. San Antonio Express

WA: How privatization drove up the cost of liquor. WHEN Washington voters approved the privatization of liquor sales in November 2011, they did so with the promise of lower prices and higher revenue. Instead, they got sticker shock at the checkout counter while the state got a $200 million windfall at their expense. Before privatization went into effect, the people of Washington were already paying the highest spirit taxes in the country. Now, state taxes and fees on spirits have skyrocketed to more than five times the national average. The Seattle Times

NC: The high costs of a GED diploma. The profitization and privatization of GED test taking is just another attack on the poor coming from the General Assembly…. In North Carolina, the GED test, which was formerly administered by the nonprofit American Council on Education is now under the control of a public-private partnership with Pearson VUE, the largest for profit testing agency in the United States. The changes in administration will prove to present many difficult obstacles for North Carolinians trying to take the GED test—most of these low-income, minority citizens. Access to postsecondary education is commonly recognized as the most viable way to establish middle class earnings. A GED diploma is an important tool for advancing education and technical skills, leading people to better opportunities. Duke Chronicle

PA: Could 2014 be the year Pennsylvania’s liquor privatization movement reaches full proof? Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai said Tuesday renewed negotiations led by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley could lead to privatization of the state’s liquor store system. But differences between the House and Senate have scuttled similar proposals before. PennLive.com