January 31, 2013


PA: Corbett promises liquor proceeds to schools

Gov. Tom Corbett says his plan to auction 1,200 wine and liquor store licenses and open beer and wine sales to a broad array of retailers would commit the proceeds to education. Corbett’s office says most of the revenue would come from selling wholesale liquor licenses. Auctioning and selling retail licenses to sell wine, liquor or beer would generate the remainder. The plan involves shutting down the more than 600 state-owned wine and liquor stores as a prelude to auctioning private retail licenses. Philly.com

PA: Union remains committed in fight against liquor privatization in Pennsylania

Just like it has in the past, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 isn’t about to back down on its fight, even as Governor Tom Corbett has thrown his full support toward getting Pennsylvania out of the business of selling alcohol. “It’s pretty clear there’s not a lot of support. I think he’s out of touch with Pennsylvania,” said Wendell W. Young IV, president of the UFCW 1776, which represents about 3,000 state liquor store employees. In the meantime, Young said the union will continue to galvanize its efforts, throwing attention on studies regarding privatization and shedding light on what has happened in other states, such as Iowa and West Virginia, which privatized their liquor systems. PennLive.com

NY: Plan to Privatize LIPA Is Forming

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering privatizing the state-owned Long Island Power Authority by issuing bonds to pay off more than half its debts and selling its distribution and transmission system, separately, to the highest bidder, officials said. It isn’t certain the plan would reduce LIPA customers’ bills, among the highest in the nation…. Privatization faces significant political opposition on Long Island, and administration officials said they are considering other options, including turning LIPA into a municipal utility. … Many lawmakers and business owners.  Wall Street Journal

DE: Deal to lease Port of Wilmington at risk

Delaware lawmakers might have scuttled a Port of Wilmington privatization deal by imposing a new requirement for legislative review, a top official with Kinder Morgan told investment analysts Wednesday. The News Journal

TX:  City Hall hopes to turn over Dallas Farmers Market’s keys to a private operator

One thing the city wants to do is keep from spooking the existing vendors at the market, many of whom are already leery of the city’s plans to turn over the market to outsiders who are looking to raze some of the sheds and replace them with apartments, restaurants and other related offerings. Many of market’s vendors have long had a strained relationship with city management and have blamed City Hall for keeping the market from becoming a more vibrant place. Dallas Morning News

E-mails link Bush foundation, corporations and education officials

A nonprofit group released thousands of e-mails today and said they show how a foundation begun by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and national education reform leader, is working with public officials in states to write education laws that could benefit some of its corporate funders…. Donald Cohen, chair of the nonprofit In the Public Interest, a resource center on privatization and responsible for contracting in the public sector, said the e-mails show how education companies that have been known to contribute to the foundation are using the organization “to move an education agenda that may or not be  in our interests but are in theirs.” Washington Post



January 30, 2013


Congress to consider privatizing the NFIP

Privatizing the National Flood Insurance Program could mean higher rates but better coverage for flood insurance policyholders, market observers say. They also say that any privatization of the debt-ridden program, which was reauthorized for five years last year, would have to be phased in after considerable discussion to avoid market disruption. The program came under increased scrutiny as losses from Superstorm Sandy mounted. During the House debate over financial relief for Sandy victims this month, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, called the program “ineffective, inefficient and indisputably costly to hardworking American taxpayers.”  Business Insurance

Public Libraries and Private Parties

Traditionally, libraries are very public spaces. Everyone is welcome. This is the case whether you think of libraries as community centers or the university of the people. To block the public from such a preeminently public space seems like an egregious violation of mission. Plus, it’s not just blocking the public from a public space. It’s privatizing a public space. Some members of the public still got to enjoy being in the library that evening. Specifically, those members of the public who could pay a little extra to make a public library their private playground. Library Journal

IL: Sen. Durbin urges caution on Midway privatization

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin urged the Federal Aviation Administration and the City of Chicago to proceed with caution when evaluating whether to privatize Midway Airport, noting “there are significant federal investments at stake.” In a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on Tuesday, Durbin said that the federal government has invested $378 million since 1982 to help rebuild runways and taxiways and a new terminal and that those funds should be repaid before any sale or lease of the airport. LaHood announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from the Cabinet position. His comments also were directed at a plans to privatize Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which are close to completion. Chicago Tribune

IL: To privatize or not to privatize? Some say it’s only way Illiana gets built

With government funds in short supply and general distaste for a gas tax increase, is privatization the only way to go for major transportation projects such as the proposed Illiana Expressway? Yes and no, experts said Monday at a Northwestern University forum on public-private partnerships. “Public-private partnerships aren’t free,” investment banker Tom Lanctot said. “There’s no (public private partnership) fairy or money tree. The private sector is looking to earn a return on their investment. (With infrastructure) some people find that profit motive to be distasteful.” Illinois and Indiana approved legislation in 2010 enabling the two states to form a partnership with private contractors to build and operate the so-called Illiana Expressway although they haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Chicago Daily Herald

PA: Governor Corbett sees lottery privatization as jackpot for senior support

The job of managing the Pennsylvania state lottery is poised to be outsourced to a private management firm based in the United Kingdom called Camelot Global Services. Despite a dearth of popular support for privatization, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett spent the last nine months enthusiastically soliciting potential buyers to take over the operation-estimated to be worth $3.5 billion. In the end, Camelot Global Services was the only bidder, and, pending the contract‘s clearance byattorney general Kathleen Kane (D) and state treasurer Rob McCord (D), will assume management duties in the near future.  Ballot News

PA: Gov. Corbett to unveil state store privatization plan today

Tom Corbett is in Pittsburgh today where he’ll strap on a toga and do his very best Sisyphus impersonation as he announces his plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor stores. PennLive.com

CA: Saving City College of San Francisco

City College of San Francisco, one of the nation’s most successful community colleges, is fighting for survival. A lifeline to immigrants, students of color and the poor, the school has been knocked to its knees by brutal austerity measures. Looming is a March 15 deadline to change – or face closure…. In December, faculty and staff formed Fight to Save CCSF. Its aim is to launch a campus-wide coalition of students, staff, faculty, labor and the community. They opened spring semester with a bang: a hundreds-strong picket and boycott of a speech by the chancellor. “We are battling a privatization tsunami,” said Dr. Robert Price, chemistry professor and co-convener of Fight Back to Save CCSF. “If we unite, we can have tremendous impact.” Bay Area Indymedia

FL: Winter Haven Commission Rejects Garbage Privatization Plan

Winter Haven won’t privatize its residential garbage pickup, at least for now, city commissioners decided Monday in an vote that was not on their agenda. The 3-0 vote to reject all bids ends a months-long look at privatizing the city service. The vote saves the city jobs of 20 city garbage collection workers. The Ledger


January 29, 2013


PA: Op-ed: Lottery privatization is a gamble that’s not worth taking

As Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging, I oversaw programs the Lottery finances. In the 1990’s, when the state’s premiere aging programs faced similar demographic and financial challenges, I helped develop the “Lottery Fund Preservation Plan” that preserved Lottery-funded programs by cutting unnecessary spending and reigning in rapacious prescription drug prices. Aging services now face a greater threat – not from similar demographic and fiscal trends, but from the Administration’s plan to privatize management of the lottery. Penn Live

MI: Lansing’s mayor says privatizing the city’s power company is not going to happen on his watch

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero’s State of the City address celebrated recent positive economic news for the capitol city. But perhaps the biggest applause line in the speech last night involved the future of Lansing’s city-owned utility. …“I just want to be clear…that’s not going to happen. Not on my watch,” Bernero said, which drew large applause from those gathered to hear the mayor’s State of the City address. After the speech, Bernero told reporters that the revenues BWL generates for the city, as well as the low utility rates it provides Lansing residents, are too great a benefit for the city to give up. Michigan Radio

WA: Researchers find prison privatization can impede job growth

Building on earlier research in which they challenged the widespread belief that rural communities can create job growth by hosting state prisons, researchers at Washington State University have now found local job growth is often impeded in communities that become hosts to privately operated prisons. WSU News

MT: Gov. Bullock, public education community line up to oppose tax credits for private schools

Advocates of “school choice” filled the state Capitol halls Monday, in part to testify for a pair of bills creating new state income-tax credits helping finance private schools in Montana. But they ran into a united front of opposition from Montana’s public-school community and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who said the measures essentially take public funds away from public schools and are likely unconstitutional. Helena Independent Record

Why are the Jonas Brothers helping privatize America’s schools?

The school system is one of America’s last public treasures, but corporate interests represented by private schools, charter schools, and virtual schools are launching a new push to help privatize them. Dubbed “School Choice Week,” a coalition of these schools is launching 3,500 events this week to advocate for school vouchers, the expansion of charter schools, and other policies that would help privatize education. The kick-off event for the group featured a concert and rally hosted by the Jonas Brothers in Phoenix, Arizona. Organizers described their push for school vouchers as equivalent to the battle for civil rights and woman’s suffrage.  Bold Progressives

January 28, 2013


NY: New York City Scraps Privatizing Parking Meters

New York City is scrapping plans to privatize management of its street-parking system, the latest sign of growing wariness in U.S. cities of initiatives to address budget woes by selling off the rights to run meters and lots. The decision by the nation’s largest city comes amid a backlash in Chicago, whose 2008 deal to lease rights on 36,000 parking meters to private investors for 75 years for about $1.2 billion was the first parking privatization by a major U.S. city. Chicago residents and policy makers—including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose predecessor presided over the deal—have criticized it for selling the rights too cheaply and for including clauses that have ended up costing the city additional funds. Pittsburgh and Los Angeles also have put privatization plans on ice.  Wall Street Journal

NY: About Privatizing Long Island Power Authority

In his State of  the State speech, Governor Andrew Cuomo advocated taking Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) private….In 2005, there was a Strategic Review performed by FTI Consulting in conjunction with Bear Stearns and three white shoe law firms…..The study concluded that privatization would result in an immediate and dramatic increase in electric rates…. Bottom line, years of study and effort have gone into figuring out what form LIPA should take going forward. The only thing that all the consultants seemed to agree on was that privatization was too expensive.  Firedoglake.com

NC: Resegregation by Charters in North Carolina?

A new study of racial segregation in North Carolina shows that 30% of regular public schools are racially imbalanced, but 60% of charter schools are.  These findings echo the work of the UCLA Civil Rights Project, which has found that charter schools are frequently even more segregated than their surrounding district. Diane Ravitch’s Blog

NJ: Christie quietly takes on lottery

Gov. Christie hasn’t held a news conference about it, and his treasurer has refused to testify on it. But the Republican governor is close to privatizing the bulk of a $2.8 billion New Jersey institution. Following a national trend already under way in Pennsylvania, Christie is negotiating a 15-year contract with a company to operate the state lottery in an effort to increase sales, thereby building more revenue for schools and state institutions. Like Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Corbett, Christie bypassed the Legislature, much to its chagrin, in bidding out the system. And like Pennsylvania, New Jersey got just one bid in response to its request for proposals. Philadelphia Inquire

PA: Scranton Sewer Authority member pans asset sale

They’d never be able to take this (sewer authority),” Mr. Verrastro said. “We went that route once before, and I hope they (city leaders) can understand how we got killed by it.” A sewer privatization plan in the late 1990s/early 2000s ended up costing the authority millions of dollars.. Scranton Times-Tribune

WA: Shoplifting incidents rise with liquor privatization

Spirits theft has become a common crime at stores locally and statewide since voters decided in 2011 to shut down the state’s liquor stores and allow grocery stores to sell hard alcohol. Shoplifters are taking advantage of the grocery stores’ relatively lax security and making off with bottles of whiskey, vodka, tequila and other spirits.  Longview Daily News

VA: Debt raises doubt about Virginia buying Dulles Greenway toll road

A General Assembly subcommittee will take up legislation from Del. Joe May, R-Leesburg, that would allow Virginia to take over the private, 14-mile toll road west of Washington Dulles International Airport that’s now run by the Macquarie Group.But Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton raised questions about whether the state could afford to buy the road given how much debt its current owners have run up.  Washington Examiner

Letter: Modernize, but don’t privatize Postal Service

Downgrading the U.S. Postal Service, one of our oldest and most reliable public institutions, is being helped by anti-government fanatics and lobbyists for privatization who could steal a worthy public service from the American people and transfer its management and profiteers…. USPS could provide banking services needed in small towns and depressed urban areas. Japan Post is said to be the world’s largest depository institution.  Florida Today


January 25, 2013


NC: A Tea Partier Takes Charge of North Carolina’s Budget

His think tanks favor a repeal of North Carolina’s income tax, privatizing Medicaid, and reducing the state workforce. Liberals fear Pope will decimate funding for public schools, Medicaid, and other social programs. Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of NC Policy Watch, a public policy group in Raleigh, worries that Pope’s years of activism will give him more clout than the governor and is calling the new regime “The Pope Administration.” Says Fitzsimon: “It’s unprecedented to have the largest funder of campaign ads as the state budget director.” Businessweek

OK: Bill seeks to eliminate funding for Oklahoma Arts Council

Oklahoma is following neighboring Kansas, where Koch Industries is headquartered, to eradicate public arts funding. De-funding the arts is a privatizing scheme. “The Arts Council can operate solely from donations and self-generated funds. Los Angeles Times

OR: Liquor privatization issue still percolating in Oregon

After the bumpy start for Washington’s liquor privatization law last year — which included price hikes that led some consumers fleeing to stores across the border — you might think the issue is off the table in Oregon. It doesn’t appear to be the case.   Both sides are preparing for a potential battle here.  OregonLive

SC:  SC Board of Education Authorizes Strikebreaking Bus Drivers

On Wednesday, the board authorized the emergency use of school bus drivers who do not have the state certification should a strike occur in those districts…. The districts have contracted with private company Durham School Services to provide transportation services. Durham’s employees are unionized under Teamsters 509 and authorized a strike last week and this week as negotiations with the company stalled.  Patch.com

VT: Vermont: One Tiny State’s Movement to Ban Private Prisons

A recent New Yorker piece noted more Americans are now incarcerated than there were imprisoned in Stalin’s gulags. Clearly a dialogue about mass incarceration, budget crises, and privatization is unfolding. A group of Vermonters working out of Church basements and living rooms is attempting to build a movement to push this conversation forward by passing a historic law banning Vermont’s use of for-profit prisons. Toward Freedom

IL: Bucktown Billboards Galore

The new LED billboard planned for a prominent local intersection is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s expansive billboard privatization deal, according to 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack…Area residents and community groups have also started taking action against the billboard projects. Bucktown Community Organization President Steve Jensen is drafting a letter to the mayor to publicly state the group’s position on the issue, and he has encouraging neighbors to do the same.   Patch.com

CA: Dozens of layoffs possible with Fresno trash plan delay

KMJ is reporting up to 60 impending layoffs at the City of Fresno on possible delays to residential trash privatization.KMJ (580 AM) is reporting that upward of 60 City of Fresno employees could be laid off in the coming months due to possible delays in privatizing the city’s residential solid waste collection. In addition to layoffs, two fire stations would be cut, as well as hot meals for seniors and graffiti abatement efforts, Appleton said.  Fresno Business Journal


January 24, 2013


In 2013, debt collection is big business — really big

Consider it the privatizing of justice. Instead of investigating bad-check complaints, prosecutors simply pass them along to Corrective Solutions. The company then uses official DA letterhead to threaten jail time if consumers don’t pay up. Corrective Solutions also runs the “voluntary” financial-accountability classes, and prosecutors get a cut of the profits while barely lifting a finger. Unfortunately, the entire system runs on a one-size-fits-all presumption of guilt. No one’s bothering to investigate whether the check writer was working a scam or merely suffering from a momentary lapse of mathematics.  WestWord

MD: Maryland Considers Photo Ticket Reform

Lawmakers in Maryland are considering legislation to rein in the use of photo enforcement. In the past few months, a series of embarrassing revelations have cast doubt on the legality and accuracy of speed camera citations, including the admission that more than 5 percent of photo ticket recipients in Baltimore were likely innocent. Supporters of the technology in Annapolis are now scrambling to save a program that has lost credibility in the public eye. Montgomery County and other jurisdictions have been paying their camera contractors on a per-ticket basis, even though state code section 21-809 unambiguously states “the contractor’s fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid. TheNewspaper.com

MI: Survey shows Michigan lawmakers and residents don’t see eye to eye on education reform

Many Michigan lawmakers see school choice and online learning as keys to improving the state’s education system, but a yearlong survey of Michigan residents released Tuesday shows a disconnect between what lawmakers want and what the public wants….Instead, survey participants say Michigan schools will improve by giving teachers more support, strengthening requirements to become a teacher, boosting early childhood education programs and holding educators more accountable. Livingston Daily

PA: Lottery privatization: Corbett’s administration sales pitch falls short for some lawmakers at House hearing

Despite the administration officials’ best efforts to sell the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee on the benefits of a 20-year contract with Camelot, lawmakers who spoke voiced an uneasiness about this change for the lottery. Some lawmakers’ questions exposed other worries ranging from the reliance on people’s desire to gamble to fund social programs to fears that Camelot’s business plan focused around broadening to participation would result in college students being targeted. PennLive

PA: Teachers’ pension plan funds privatization of PA lottery

Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan put up the $150 million cash and $50 million in credit to back UK-based Camelot Global Services that enabled Camelot to drive competing bidders Gtech and Tatts out of the picture. Philly.com

NJ: Privatize emergency dispatch? South Jersey officials, company weigh in

A Central Jersey town’s decision Tuesday night to privatize its police dispatch service has made history and highlighted an impassioned debate over the wisdom of taking emergency services out of the public sector. NJ.com

DE: House panel releases port privatization bill

A Senate bill giving the General Assembly veto power over privatizing operations at the Port of Wilmington has cleared a House committee. Member of the economic development committee voted unanimously Wednesday to release the bill for consideration by the full House.  San Francisco Chronicle

MI: Court records show how union’s fight against privatization at Grand Rapids Veterans Home failed

More than 140 unionized caregivers at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans were given layoff notices this week, the culmination of a months-long battle against a plan by the state to privatize the jobs…. Contracted caregivers, union leaders argued, receive lower pay and fewer benefits than state-paid, unionized caregivers, and therefore were not as dedicated to their jobs. State officials dismissed such claims, and said privatizing the jobs would save $4.2 million annually. The ultimate undoing of the union’s fight against privatization are spelled out in state court documents, which show a legal challenge brought by veterans home resident Anthony Spallone was dropped in December 2012.  The Grand Rapids Press

NE: Regents won’t consider health center privatization Friday

University of Nebraska-Lincoln officials, who had hoped to bring the proposal before the regents during their regular meeting on Friday, still are negotiating with Bryan Health, regents Chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln said. “They (university officials) pulled it because they did not have the information or had not completed their negotiations to be able to give us adequate information as to where things are,” he said.  Lincoln Journal Star





January 23, 2013


VA: Effort to halt monthly E-ZPass fees draws support

A legislative effort to halt new monthly fees for users of the E-ZPass electronic tolling system gained some momentum Tuesday in a House of Delegates subcommittee…. Loupassi’s bill drew opposition from toll-road companies including Elizabeth River Crossings, which is partnering with VDOT in a public-private venture to expand the Midtown Tunnel and impose tolls on it and the Downtown Tunnel.  The Virginia Pilot

NJ: Town Council Approves Privatization of Police/911 Dispatching

As a result of a contract awarded by council during its meeting held earlier this evening (Tuesday, Jan. 22), Cranbury-based iXP Corporation will begin staffing the communications center at the township police station on April 1. The contract will run for two years, with the township having the option to award one three-year extension.  LawrencevillePatch

TX: Danger: Privatization in Texas

The new leadership of the Texas legislature has a plan. State Senator Dan Patrick, the new chair of the Senate Education Committee, wants vouchers, more charters, and a fast track for closing down public schools. Diane Ravitch’s blog

DE: House panel eyes bill on privatizing Delaware port

A bill giving the General Assembly veto power over privatizing operations at the Port of Wilmington is heading to a House committee. The bill, which narrowly cleared the Senate last week, was slated for a hearing Wednesday by the House economic development committee. The legislation, opposed by Gov. Jack Markell’s administration, prevents the state-controlled Diamond State Port Corporation from agreeing to privatize or lease the port without approval from both chambers of the Legislature.  Houston Chronicle

PA: Lottery privatization: Republican senators call on Corbett to back off plans for online gaming

Five Republican senators are calling on Gov. Tom Corbett to tweak his lottery management privatization plans to ban online gaming to avoid competition with the state’s casinos. Their concern arises out of the 20-year agreement with Camelot Global Services PA, LLC, that Corbett administration officials signed last week. Patriot-News

PA: Lottery privatization: Camelot facing criticism in UK for executive bonus pay and doubling of lottery prices

The proposed private manager for the Pennsylvania Lottery comes under fire in the United Kingdom for executives’ bonuses after doubling the price of tickets. Word of the bonuses comes on the heels of Camelot Global Services doubling the price of lottery tickets, which sparked lottery players in the United Kingdom to call for boycotting the lottery. A story in the United Kingdom-based publication, The Mail, quotes the deputy leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, Paul Nuttall, saying “Lottery players are being fleeced…with these bonus increases we can see why.’”  PennLive

CA: Fresno trash privatization opponents file lawsuit

Fresnans for clean air, also known as FRESCA, walked into the city clerks office in Fresno and handed them a copy of the lawsuit filed Tuesday morning. FRESCA says the city of Fresno failed to prepare an environmental impact report concerning traffic and air quality with the new residential solid waste program, Mid-Valley Disposal.  CBS47.com

SC: The dangers of giving taxpayer dollars to private companies – opinion

Truth be told, Gov. Haley is more interested in finding new ways to put taxpayer dollars into the hands of privately held companies, and privatizing school buses is the next best thing to privatizing the entire school system. Even though proponents of privatization claim that competition encourages lower costs, lowering costs is not beneficial to anyone in the long run except the person that the state writes the checks to. Competition forces transportation companies to find ways to cut costs, and cutting costs invariably finds its way into cutting essentials. Maybe this year the drivers are asked to accept a lower pay raise, or not get one at all. The next year, maybe their health insurance premiums rise. Or maybe the company decides that four inspections a year is two too many. After all, fewer inspections means finding fewer things wrong, and that means there are fewer things to fix. Charleston City Paper

Postal Service Losing Out on Federal Contracts, Report Finds

Even the federal government turns to private shippers rather than the Postal Service when it wants to send packages. A report from the agency’s inspector general said that since 2001, private companies like FedEx and United Parcel Service had consistently captured 98 percent of the revenue from long-term shipping contracts with the government because the financially troubled Postal Service did not have a sales staff or a strategy to focus on the federal sector until 2009.  New York Times



January 22, 2013


Are private toll roads a losing idea?

President Obama and others have called to create a “national infrastructure bank” that would leverage the credit backing of the U.S. to fund more privatization of public assets – also known as public-private partnerships. In other words, a federal bank to fund the selling off public assets with loans or guarantees provided at low interest rates. But is control of public assets a successful business model for the investors? Actually, it seems to be a disaster. Let’s look back at private toll roads over the years.  Reuters

IL: City outlines terms of Midway privatization

Companies interested in vying for a contract to privatize Midway Airport will have to agree to an array of stipulations, including a lease of not more than 40 years, according to documents posted online Friday that invite potential bidders to submit their qualifications. Chicago Tribune

NJ: Decision on Privatizing Police Dispatching Due Tonight

Tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 22) Lawrence Township Council will decide whether to privatize police/911 dispatching services by awarding a contract to a Cranbury company or keep the township’s police communications center staffed by municipal employees. LawrencevillePatch

MT: For sale – Our wildlife heritage and what Montana hunters/anglers stand to lose

Imagine giving up Montana’s five-week deer and elk rifle season so hunters who can pay $20,000 or more for a license can kill bigger bucks and bulls. How about buying an elk tag only to find that sections of public land where you planned to hunt are only available to hunters who bought their license from a landowner who was given the tag from the state. If it sounds far fetched or like the workings of a banana republic, it isn’t. Those things are happening throughout the West. And those same people want to bring this vision to Montana. The states give landowners tags to be sold in return for some limited access to private land for hunting. Helena Independent Record

FL: State plan to help charter schools irks Palm Beach County School Board

Some Palm Beach County School District officials are incensed at a state proposal to offer once again millions of dollars next year for capital improvements at charter schools — and none at traditional public schools. That plan, those officials say, has set up a political fight for the legislative session that begins in March. School officials in Palm Beach County have estimated their buildings and grounds have $1.4 billion in capital improvement needs over the next 10 years. “It’s absurd,” said Chuck Shaw, county school board chairman. “I don’t know where the state seems to think we’re supposed to come up with the money to maintain our schools.”  Palm Beach Post

PA: Opinion: Privatization as disdain?

The governor’s newest sweet deal, outsourcing administration of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a foreign shore, provides further evidence of a premeditated strategy that treats the commonwealth like the prey of a vulture capitalist and is consistent with with the shenanigans proposed for the Pennsylvania Turnpike and state wine and spirits stores. The winners will be the middlemen and their employees, taking a cut of the action; the losers will be the citizens — taxpayers, seniors and current employees — who live, work, spend money and pay taxes in Pennsylvania. Tribune-Review






January 21, 2013


Privatizing Public Land For Solar Companies

Critics of opening up public lands to renewable energy development have been known to refer to the process as “privatization,” pointing out that once public land is leased to energy companies, that land is essentially no longer public. At issue is the Genesis Solar project, being built by Florida developer NextEra on 1,950 acres of your California desert BLM land north of Ford Dry Lake, backed by $825 million in loan guarantees funded by your tax dollars.  KCET

DE: Port of Wilmington Privatization

State Senator Bobby Marshall discusses legislation that would require General Assembly review of any deals that would privatize the Port of Wilmington. The Senate approved bill is expected to go to the Del. House this week.  WDEL

NY: Legislators oppose LIPA privatization plan

Long Island lawmakers are expressing serious concerns about Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plans to sell LIPA’s assets to a private company, requesting instead that he revisit the notion of making it a fully public utility. Newsday

IL: FAA OKs request to privatize Midway Airport

Chicago was given federal approval Friday to privatize Midway International Airport, and the city promptly began asking potential buyers to get in touch. The city hopes to lease Midway for up to 40 years in a deal that would generate enough cash to pay off the airport’s roughly $1.4 billion debt, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said. Profits would be split between the private operator and the city.  NWI.com

VA: Wrangling over, it’s decision time on port privatization

After months of turmoil about the possible privatization of the port of Hampton Roads, the process enters the critical, decision-making phase Tuesday. The Virginian-Pilot

VA: Editorial: Virginia’s toll road shell game

In 1995, the Dulles Greenway, the first privately financed toll road built in over a century, opened in Northern Virginia. But the Greenway’s backers overestimated demand and the amount of tolls drivers were willing to pay, and it has been losing money ever since. After it went bankrupt, the toll road was subsequently purchased by Macquarie, an Australian consortium. Greenway traffic was up slightly last year despite an 8 percent toll hike, but still running 23 percent below its 2005 peak. This dismal history has not stopped Virginia House Transportation Committee Chairman Joe May, R-Leesburg, from introducing legislation that would saddle Virginia taxpayers with this white elephant. His rationale for purchasing the money-losing Greenway is to lower tolls.  Washington Examiner

PA: Senior Dem leader: Stop Pa. lottery privatization

Local state Rep. Mike Hanna is joining a chorus of legislators in Harrisburg who want to stop Gov. Tom Corbett’s effort to put the Pennsylvania Lottery in the hands of a foreign company. Hanna, among the most senior Democratic leaders in the state House, joined his party leaders last week in announcing a fight against Republican Corbett’s plan to turn over management of the lottery to Camelot Global Services, which is based in the United Kingdom.  Lock Haven Express

PA: Private group to advocate for privatizing Pennsylvania liquor stores

A new coalition of citizens, businesses and groups supporting liquor privatization will announce next week a push for the state store divestiture plan GOP Gov. Tom Corbett soon will unveil, a leading advocate said Friday… Jay Ostrich, spokesman for the Commonwealth Foundation, who attended a meeting with Corbett‘s aides this week on privatization, said with the governor‘s backing, “We think this measure will be unstoppable.” Tribune-Review

LA: Privatization under way for LSU hospital

A private operator has agreed to run the LSU hospital in Lake Charles, La., that cares for the uninsured, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration announced Friday. The agreement is part of the administration’s efforts to move away from a university-run public hospital system… Thousands of workers at the LSU health facilities will face layoffs under the plans and will have to reapply for their jobs with the private hospital operators.  ModernHealthCare



January 18, 2013


PA: Gov. Corbett Says Lottery Privatization Contract is Signed and Being Vetted

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett says the contract with a private firm to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery has now been signed and is in the hands of the state attorney general for her review. The governor said the agreement with Camelot Global Services has now been signed and delivered to the attorney general, who has 30 days to review it.  If she finds problems with the contract, Corbett says, he expects the AG to cooperate.  CBS

PA: Corbett is thinking big on liquor privatization

Though he has yet to put anything in writing, the governor and his team are sending strong signals that they want the system squarely in private hands, and that they are leaning toward opening up the wine and beer market to grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants and taverns, and big-box stores. Philadelphia Inquirer

NV: Experts: Less than half of motorists would use toll road around Boulder City

The estimate was based on a toll of $2.25 per passenger vehicle. Large trucks and commercial vehicles would potentially pay more. The reason the majority of motorists aren’t expected to use the toll road is that they’d have the option of using the existing U.S. 93 route through Boulder City that would remain free. The Nevada Legislature would still have to approve legislation permitting a toll and is expected to consider that in the session that begins next month. VEGAS INC

CA: Final hours in effort to stop Fresno’s trash privatization

A petition drive to stop privatization of Fresno’s residential trash services is in its final hours. Opponents of privatization say their deadline is Tuesday but they’re planning on turning in all of their signatures Friday afternoon. With one day to go, organizers of the effort are trying to make sure they have more than enough. “People could have signed twice. There are always those things that could happen, so we need to be conservative. But yes, I feel very good about where we are right now,” said Marina Magdaleno with Local 39.  ABC

NJ: Lawrence may become first in NJ to privatize 911 police dispatching services

The township could become the first municipality in New Jersey to privatize 911 police dispatching services, should the council approve a contract worth $719,400 a year with iXP Corp. of Cranbury next Tuesday. NJ.com