November 30, 2012


TX: Road Tolls Proliferate as State Financing Falls Short

As public officials across fast-growing Texas look for ways to build more roads in the midst of a lack of public financing, toll revenue or investment from private firms hoping to collect that toll revenue are repeatedly emerging as the antidote. But many critics say charging tolls in Texas has shifted from an if-we-absolutely-must option to the default approach for major road projects. “The day will surely come when, if you want to get from point A to point B, you’re not going to have a choice but to get on a toll road,” State Senator John Carona, Republican of Dallas, said at a panel discussion at the Texas Tribune Festival in September on transportation financing. “Well then, suddenly, a toll is just another tax. Let’s not kid one another.” New York Times

PA: Amid objections, county rethinks plan to outsource foster care oversight

Luzerne County officials are reconsidering a plan to outsource the supervision of foster care and kinship care to private providers after hearing objections from two state representatives and a Children and Youth Services supervisor. State Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, and state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township, are expected to address county council on Tuesday.  “I feel very strongly about doing everything I can to prevent this very bad idea,” Mundy said Thursday. Citizens Voice

PA: Privatizing lottery: Corbett Seeks To Sell It Despite Its Ace Service To Seniors

This doesn’t make sense, according to Lottery executives and its rank-and-file employees, who for years have labored to make it one of the more-successful state lotteries in the  fnation… Hughes said, “There are so many unanswered questions about this plan and how it impacts senior programs. The Lottery is a well-run, highly efficient agency, nationally recognized for its success and has been counted on to fund key senior programs for years. It should not be threatened with privatization.” In a letter to State Secretary of Revenue Dan Meuser and Secretary of Aging Breian Duke, Washington expressed concerns of senior citizens around the state over Corbett’s move.  Philly Record

OH: Ohio Turnpike will see record tolls this year

The Ohio Turnpike will see record revenues of about $270 million this year, thanks to toll increases that took effect in early January. The question now is how Gov. John Kasich’s administration will opt to leverage that flow of cash. The governor’s office is expected to announce by year’s end whether it wants to lease all or parts of the turnpike operation, such as toll collection, or merge the toll road with ODOT.  Plain Dealer

CA: State Supreme Court rejects Costa Mesa’s appeal on job outsourcing

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear Costa Mesa’s appeal of an injunction that for months has blocked the city from moving forward with a plan to lay off hundreds of workers and outsource jobs.  Los Angeles Times

CA: Private information on LA ambulance users leaked

Private identity information, including Social Security numbers, may have been leaked for up to 900 Los Angeles ambulance patients as part of a multistate data breach, officials said Thursday…. The city’s decision to contract with ADPI follows a growing pattern of the city using outsourcing to increase efficiencies and save money. As part of the move, about 50 positions were eliminated at the LAFD. The decision to outsource operations was criticized at the time by Pat McOsker, head of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City. On Thursday, he said he’d warned the City Council such a breach could occur. “This is an unfortunate example of what happens when you privatize,” McOsker said. “The city isn’t able to ensure that people’s information is kept private.” Contra Costa Times

FL: Higher rates for non-STEM students bound to backfire – opinion

Pushing toward privatization: The universities are now under pressure to seek private funding for programs. But while private funds are available for the professional schools, such funds are scarce for the rest of the university. Orlando Sentinel

Ditching West Publishing Could Save Court $350K

The 9th Circuit said Thursday that it will save $350,000 over the next year by processing its opinions in-house instead of contracting that service to West Publishing.  Courthouse News