December 3, 2012


NE: Foster care still reeling from privatization

Nebraska’s child welfare system is still suffering from the instability caused by the state’s privatization experiment, according to a report released Friday. Omaha World-Herald

IL: City Hall: Parking-meter firm’s math is off by more than $22 million

The private company in charge of Chicago’s parking-meter system is demanding more money from the city, saying revenue it’s lost from City Hall taking meters out of service and for having to provide free disability parking now comes to $61 million. But Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration says the company’s math is way off. City officials claim to have found more than $22 million in errors.  Chicago Sun-Times           

IL: Emanuel close to reviving Midway privatization — with key changes

Facing a Dec. 31 federal deadline, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has all but decided to test the privatization market for Midway Airport, but do it in a way dramatically different from the 99-year, $2.5 billion deal that collapsed for lack of financing. Chicago Sun-Times

OH: Ohio Farm Bureau opposes privatizing turnpike, tax hikes

The state’s largest agricultural group is not supporting the privatization of the Ohio Turnpike… Ohio Farm Bureau delegates representing all 88 counties voted to take the opposition stances during the group’s annual meeting in Columbus this week — a meeting that included an appearance from Kasich, who urged the bureau to support the proposals. Youngstown Vindicator

TX: Toll roads becoming bigger part of Texas highway plans

The state of Texas is relying more on the use of toll roads for its major transportation projects because the state’s transportation financing system lacks the resources to meet Texans’ needs.

OH: Higher fees predicted from privatizing city parking

Cincinnati city officials are considering a proposal to lease the city’s parking meters, garages and lots to a private company, but the plan is coming under fire by critics who say it could greatly increase parking prices.  Fox19

PA: Plan to privatize Pa. Lottery still in the works

After months of behind the scenes work, Gov. Tom Corbett’s office is still reviewing one British company’s bid on the Pennsylvania Lottery.

PA: Sen. Richard Kasunic : More questions on lottery privatization

This lack of competition raises serious issues about the model the Corbett Administration has chosen to solicit privatization proposals and begs the question of whether Camelot’s bid reflects the best deal we can get if we are going to continue down this misguided path. The Tribune-Democrat

MI: Push-back on school privatization

Parents, teachers and school administrators are pushing back, fighting a package of education bills that they say will privatize schools in Michigan. WXYZ

CA: Council moves forward on waste privatization

The Fresno City Council voted to turn the city’s residential solid waste collection over to a private contractor late Thursday. Fresno Business Journal

FL: Judge Expects To Rule Quickly Over Prison Health Care Privatization Dispute

The jobs of about the three-thousand correctional employees’ jobs hang in the balance as a Leon Circuit Judge decides whether the state can privatize its prison health care services. WFSU

VA: Board to vote on rates increases for Dulles Toll Road

The board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is expected to vote to raise fees on the Dulles Toll Road. The toll increases are needed, in part, to fund construction of the Dulles Rail extension, the 23.1-mile project to extend Metro from Falls Church to Tysons, Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County. Washington Post


November 27, 2012


For-profit colleges losing out to state schools charging less

For-profit colleges have also suffered damage to their reputations. Investigators have said the schools use high-pressure sales tactics to mislead applicants about costs and job placement, leaving them with government loans they can’t repay. Seattle Times

Global Corporations Eye The Privatizing Of Highways

These so-called public-private partnerships, or P3s, are a multibillion-dollar global business. One Swedish corporation has called the United States the “trillion-dollar opportunity” for privatized highways and other public infrastructure.  Disinformation

Writing bills, finding funds: Bush’s foundation at work

Soon after leaving office in 2007, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush launched the Foundation for Excellence in Education to “ignite a movement of reform, state by state.” A close examination of the foundation’s work, including a review of thousands of pages of email, shows the staff of two dozen has worked aggressively – if not always with immediate success – to shape public policy.  Chicago Tribune

VA: Road-building process is flawed, study contends

The state’s increasing reliance on public-private partnerships to fund major road projects needs more independent oversight and greater transparency to ensure the deals serve the public interest, according to a new report on the practice. The report, released Monday by the nonprofit Southern Environmental Law Center, said decision-making on road projects has become concentrated under the governor’s office…. The study’s author, Jim Regimbal, suggested state legislators wrest some control of the process by requiring General Assembly approval of state subsidies on each project and whenever tolls are considered. In Illinois, the legislature must approve a project before officials can seek proposals from the private sector on it, his report said.  The Virginian-Pilot

IL: Illinois Supreme Court Considers HOA Speeding Tickets

High court in Illinois hears oral arguments in dispute over whether homeowners associations may issue speeding tickets. An Illinois motorist is fighting back against his homeowners association (HOA) for pulling over motorists and issuing speeding tickets. …The HOA imposes speeding tickets that can cost between $50 and $200. Failure to stop for the HOA private security force also incurs a $200 fine for “obstructing an officer.” The fines can be imposed on homeowners, even if they did were not responsible for the alleged violation.  The

WI: Wisconsin continues to outsource wastefully – opinion

In 2011, the Governor’s Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse held meetings at which our association, representing public engineers, called for more accountability in state agency outsourcing of public works to consultants. We showed how state government has wasted tens of millions of dollars outsourcing more and more public projects that could be done in-house for less money. We cited numerous studies produced by state agencies, third parties and the Legislative Audit Bureau. The commission seemed to agree. But what to do about it? The Walker administration and Republican legislators answered with legislation that weakened state oversight. Instead of performing cost-benefit analyses before deciding to outsource state work, this “fix” would have permitted analysis only after consulting work was completed – like studying where the cows went after you’ve left the barn doors open.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

WI: Walker skeptical of toll roads, gas tax hike

Governor Scott Walker says he would rather not delay major road construction projects in the state, if funding can be found. Walker said he “doesn’t think there’s a big appetite for a gas tax increase” and also reiterated his opposition to the idea of toll roads in Wisconsin. The governor noted that the required federal approval would also limit any quick financial benefits from tolls. He says the idea of something like “hot lanes,” in which people pay to use a faster express lane along a freeway, might be a more viable alternative. Walker says the funding question will be considered as he prepares his budget proposal, which will be released in February. WTAQ

OH: Cincinnati to Pursue Privatizing Parking to Balance Budget

In the past, Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld voiced concerns about privatizing parking: “I’ll await more details, but it seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to forgo a steady revenue stream for a lump-sum payment. Cincinnati needs a structurally balanced budget and can’t keep relying on one-time sources. Places like Chicago and Indianapolis have seen their parking rates more than double following privatization — that’s a bad deal for citizens, and something we don’t need while we’re experiencing an urban renaissance.” Another concern is whether the city’s current parking employees will be laid off if parking services are sold.  Cincinnati CityBeat

PA: Is privatizing Pennsylvania Lottery a smart bet? Lawmakers offer mixed opinions

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody says his position hasn’t changed about privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery and wonders why Gov. Tom Corbett would tinker with its success. Patriot-News

PA: Union leaders to meet with state over lottery privatization

Leaders of the union representing a majority of Pennsylvania Lottery employees are questioning state efforts to privatize the program. A British company is the only bidder for the lottery, which funds efforts like property tax rebates.

TN: TN school vouchers could include public, private school choices

As state lawmakers and members of a Gov. Bill Haslam-appointed task force consider the scope of a possible school voucher program in Tennessee, talks aren’t limited to using public dollars for private schooling. Rather, under one scenario designed to expand choice further, low-income students enrolled in struggling schools could attend higher-performing public schools across town, outside their home districts and — if need be — across county lines. Per-pupil state education funds would follow a student from his or her zoned school to their new school, private or public, wherever it might be.  The Tennessean

TX: Custodial positions to be outsourced across campus

Texas State-employed custodians will eventually be a thing of the past, as the outsourcing of these positions sweeps across campus. The university started the process of outsourcing its custodial services last summer. University Star

UT: Outsourcing of substitute teachers in Utah school districts on the rise

The Nebo School District is joining a growing group of Utah districts outsourcing substitute teachers.  Salt Lake Tribune






November 14, 2012


Phony school “reform” agenda takes a beating

The media barely noticed, but voters in three states rejected the profit-driven fraud that is education “reform”.  Salon

Enrollment in Charter Schools Is Increasing

In some cities, including Detroit, St, Louis and particularly New Orleans, charter schools enroll a significant proportion of the district’s students.  New York Times

The conservative push for prison reform

Nor is this a case of corporate cronyism. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which drafts model legislation for conservative state legislatures and is a newfound supporter of prison reform, does not receive support from any prison privatization companies, and has renounced its previous support for privatization measures.  Washington Post

MI: Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept considering privatization

Dozens of Detroit residents spoke out in opposition of proposed restructuring within the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. A public hearing was held today to get the public’s input on a $48 million no-bid contract for consulting services. Residents fear that savings will come at the cost of quality and jobs, a trade-off those in attendance were not willing to make. Arguments ranged from the allegations that EMA Inc. lowers quality of water and services to the need to create jobs and not eliminate them – to the argument that the department can fix itself. WXYZ

FL:  Editorial: Florida privatization runs off the rails again

Another state agency, another privatization scheme off the rails. The account of how the Florida Division of Blind Services has failed to monitor the agency’s private vendors is just one more example for Republican Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who has been trying to bring sensible reform to the state’s privatization spree. Privatization only works well when the agency doing the hiring writes strong, service-oriented contracts and state employees provide effective oversight. Anything less is just government misfeasance.  Tampa Bay Times

PA: Hughes Questions Proposal to Privatize Lottery Management

“The Pennsylvania Lottery is an efficiently and effectively run agency that funds critical services that benefit Pennsylvania seniors.  The overall question is, why would the governor propose a privatization plan that potentially threatens to siphon off dollars intended to help seniors and pay them to a private contractor instead?” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny).- “The harsh reality is that moving into such a long-term contract as the governor has outlined would be the same as signing the mortgage to senior programs over to a private company for the next generation.”

NY: Suffering on LI as Power Agency Shows Its Flaws

Trying to fend off attacks on his oversight of the Long Island Power Authority, Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday established a high-level panel, called a Moreland Commission, to investigate how utilities across New York, including the authority, handled Hurricane Sandy and other storms. He also revived a proposal that he made in his 2010 campaign to combine the authority with other state energy agencies, but has not ruled out privatizing the authority. “I don’t believe you can fix it,” he said. “I believe it has to be overhauled and you need a new system.” New York Times

VA: Tolls on I-64 can’t replace a true solution for state roads – opinion

It seems every strategy to build new highways and tunnels in our region includes tolls. Now the state – never accused of showing munificence to Hampton Roads – is floating a proposal to toll Interstate 64 between Hampton and Richmond. Oh, goody. Soon enough, our transponders will activate after we exit our driveways or subdivisions; maybe even both. It’s getting ridiculous.  The Virginian-Pilot

VA: MWAA to vote on rates increases for Dulles Toll Road

The board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is expected to vote Wednesday to raise fees on the Dulles Toll Road. The toll increases, which have been expected, are needed in part to fund construction of the Dulles Rail extension. Washington Post