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