May 27, 2008

PA: Hidden costs make turnpike deal a bad one
GA: Privatization of new cities unmeasured
OH: A renaming bonanza?
NJ: Lawsuit to stop privatizing marina

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News Summaries
PA: Hidden costs make turnpike deal a bad one
Gov. Rendell called for using a "tax-exempt, public benefit corporation
under IRS code 63-20." These new 63-20 "nonprofit corporations" are
nonprofit in name only. They create a shell corporation to finance
privatization by issuing tax-exempt bonds, something that only
governmental entities are otherwise allowed to do. Granting this
privilege makes it cheaper for private companies to borrow the upfront
cash, but the public pays for this private subsidy when it must make up
for the missing revenues not paid to the state and federal government.
Privatization boosters count on these subsidies and the lost tax
revenue remaining invisible to the public. Philadelphia Inquirer
GA: Privatization of new cities unmeasured
A year and a half after they split from Fulton County hoping to deliver
better services to taxpayers, the cities of Milton and Johns Creek have
not yet tracked how well they’re reaching that goal. As Sandy Springs
did before them, Milton and Johns Creek took a new approach and hired a
private company to manage nearly all their government services, except
their police and fire departments. But city leaders say they have been
too busy with other priorities to set benchmarks by which they can precisely
measure the company’s performance, a responsibility called for in their
multimillion-dollar contracts. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
OH: A renaming bonanza?
Hamilton County Commission chairman Todd Portune is renewing his calls
for the Cincinnati Bengals to sell naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium
to help the cash-strapped county avoid running out of money to pay off
debt on the stadium. But for reasons that have more to do with
football’s economics than political will, a renamed stadium wouldn’t
likely solve the county’s projected 2009 $12 million budget deficit
anytime soon. The Enquirer (Cincinnati)
NJ: Lawsuit to stop privatizing marina
Save Barnegat Bay teamed up with the township in 2004 to purchase
Trader’s Cove, a small marina on Mantoloking Road where 52 condominiums
and a 188-slip marina were proposed, in order to preserve the marina
and the adjacent land as a park. The environmental group filed a
lawsuit against the township this past January when it learned the
Township Council was courting private developers to take over the site
and develop it as a large marina."By privatizing the marina, it would
have to be a marina of a certain size to be profitable," deCamp said.
"We don’t want to see something that cuts people off from the water." A
private operation would create a private atmosphere even if the public
had access to the waterfront, deCamp said when the suit was filed.