October 19, 2012


IN: Professor: Gov. Daniels’ Indiana Toll Road lease burdens future generations

The funds from the Indiana Toll Road lease provided a short-term, politically easy win for Gov. Mitch Daniels and his allies, to the long-term detriment of future generations. At least that’s what John B. Gilmour, a government and public policy professor at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, contends in a paper recently published… Gilmour starts his paper likening such leases to debtors in the Middle Ages saddling their children with their debts. “Today, happily, laws shield children from intergenerational debt collection. No laws stop governments, however, from borrowing and shifting the cost of repayment to future generations. This can be a very attractive strategy for politicians who wish to provide costly benefits to contemporary voters without imposing any costs on them. One means of accomplishing this feat is the long-term asset lease. “ Indy Star

IN: Company Claims Lotto Commission Mishandled Privatization

The Indiana Lottery Commission is facing a legal protest from a company called Scientific Games over the state’s handling of the bid process during the commission’s recent choosing of a new vendor for the Hoosier Lottery. Scientific Games claims in their protest that the commission did not properly evaluate both its bid and the eventual winning bid from a company called GTECH.  Indiana Public Media

IN:  Indy Mayor pushing for public-private partnerships for city parks

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is pushing a new initiative aimed at improving the city’s parks through public-private partnerships.  Fox 59

PA: Pa. Legislature Wraps Up With No Action On Liquor Store Privatization

Pennsylvania lawmakers have wrapped up another two-year session without action on privatizing liquor sales. That may not bode well for supporters of the idea.  CBS Philly

PA: Oped: Privatization Madness: Now Private Companies are Collecting Our Taxes

This tax privatization business is sure nice work if you can get it. And Berkheimer got it because the professional association of CPAs in the state lobbied the Pennsylvania state legislature heavily in 2009 to get a law passed mandating (got that? mandating!) that all townships in each county in the state get together and hire one organization to collect all their taxes. My county, Montgomery County PA, which opposed the bill, hired Berkheimer.  So did a lot of other counties. The company, created expressly to capitalize on the new law, has 17 offices dotted around the state according to their website, to collect the taxes for hundreds of towns, school districts and other local entities. How much are they getting paid in total for all this “work”? That would be hard to ascertain. The company is private, and is not subject to any sunshine laws.  Oped News

IL: Corruption at Red Light firm threatens Chicago contract

As the Tribune first reported, Redflex spent $910.71 on a luxury two-day stay in 2010 for John Bills, the Chicago official in charge of the red light camera contract. Redflex did announce it had implemented anti-bribery classes for its employees to prevent further ethical lapses — two years later. Chicago’s Department of Procurement Services was not impressed. “I understand that Redflex has stated that it has taken steps to train employees to protect against similar misconduct in the future,” Chief Procurement Officer Jamie L. Rhee wrote. “While I commend Redflex for any actions it may have taken to mitigate the misconduct that occurred, I want to be very clear on what Redflex did not do: notify the city of the incident in any kind of timely manner. It appears that Redflex disclosed the incident to the city only after it realized that the story was going to appear in the newspapers.”  TheNewspaper.com

NY: Students organize protests against tuition increases, privatization

A group of SUNY-New Paltz students are rising up against ever-increasing tuition and their belief that the SUNY/CUNY system is becoming increasing less public and more privatized.  New Paltz Times

CA: California ‘parent trigger’ passes court test

The petitioning parents scored their latest victory in Victorville Superior Court on Friday, when Judge John Vander Feer ruled that the Adelanto School District must let them press on with plans to convert Desert Trails into a charter school, effective fall of  2013. The judge’s decision reinforced a July 18 ruling by another judge who found the district couldn’t use the signature withdrawals to quash the charter petition.  NBC News

VA: Board approves financing for US 460 toll-road project

The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the financing arrangements Wednesday to make the $1.4 billion U.S. 460 toll-road project a reality. The state anticipates finalizing the deal with US 460 Mobility Partners, the project’s design-build consortium, in December, officials told the state Transportation Board. Richmond Times Dispatch

Predator Military Contractors: Privatizing the Drones

[T]he extent to which today’s contractors are involved in maintaining and operating the U.S. premier robot system, aerial drones, will likely come as a surprise to you. It certain did to me after reading the article, “Drone-Sourcing? United States Air Force Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Inherently Governmental Functions, and the Role of Contractors,” published last month in George Washington University’s Federal Circuit Bar Journal…”And, most importantly, if private contractors are supporting UAS missions, are they performing tasks that should be reserved exclusively for government personnel?”  Huffington Post