August 31, 2012


Predatory Privatization. People for the American Way released a report looking at how, in many states who have recently seen budget crises and the rising influence of anti-government ideology among elected officials, the push to privatize public services and assets “often reduces the quality of services, burdens taxpayers and threatens democratic government.” Stories of destructive predatory privatization noted in the report include those of the selling of public parking meter revenues, privatizing prisons, privatizing public education, and even turning over toll roads to private corporations.  People for the American Way

GOP platform seeks privatization of airport security. The platform says Transportation Security Administration “procedures — and much of its personnel — need to be changed. It is now a massive bureaucracy of 65,000 employees who seem to be accountable to no one for the way they treat travelers. We call for the private sector to take over airport screening wherever feasible and look toward the development of security systems that can replace the personal violation of frisking.”  Washington Post

TX: On New Toll Road, Texans May Get to Drive 85. A speed limit of 85 mph would give the consortium led by Spanish-based toll road firm Cintra another carrot to use to draw paying drivers to its new road, generating more revenue, of which TxDOT collects a share… David Snyder with the American Insurance Association has argued that an 85 mph speed limit will not only be dangerous but expensive too.  “As the accidents pile up on 85-mph roads, so too will insurance claims,” Snyder wrote in a Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial last year. “That will lead to increased insurance costs.” Even Bobby LaBonte, a NASCAR driver and native Texan, told CNN last year that he wouldn’t drive 85 off the track. “We’re not trying to set speed records on the highway,” LaBonte said.  Texas Tribune

IN: Privatizing the Hoosier Lottery: Illinois has some words of warning. When Illinois took management of its lottery private last year, the company it selected promised $825 million in profit for the state.  It fell at least $55 million short, according to the company’s initial estimates. Now, GTECH Corp., the majority partner in that company, wants to run the Hoosier Lottery…Illinois’ experience with Northstar, a partnership composed of GTECH and Scientific Gaming, has been mixed. Although the company has significantly boosted lottery revenues, it did not come through on the $825 million in profit it promised the state in its first year. The performance raises questions about the path Indiana is taking in its efforts to outsource its lottery management, said Michael Jones, superintendent of the Illinois lottery. “Illinois is not something to emulate,” he said. “It’s something to learn from.” Indianapolis Star

FL: Unions get setback in Florida privatization fight. A public employee union is mulling its options after a judge refused to reopen a lawsuit challenging Florida’s plan to privatize prison health care.  A spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said on Thursday it not yet decided what to do. AFSME and the Florida Nurses Association had challenged a budget provision calling for the privatization. The nursing group did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll refused the rule last month because the budget provision expired July 1. The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, is proceeding with the privatization, contending it has other legal authority to outsource health services.  CBS News