March 19, 2013


TX: Privatized water has residents boiling. Minnie Wengert does not have a washing machine or a dishwasher. The 94-year-old conserves water by hand-washing dishes, using her shower sparingly and not watering the lawn. Despite these efforts, she says, her monthly water bill averages about $125 for 5,000 gallons from Monarch Utilities, a private corporation. Texas Tribune

IL: Illinois Lottery private manager short on profits. The private operator of the Illinois Lottery faces a $20 million penalty because it fell nearly $66 million short of the profits it promised the state in its inaugural year, state officials said Monday. Seattle Post Intelligencer

IL: Illinois lost millions on lottery privatization, lawmaker says. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, says a $20 million fine for Illinois’ private lottery manager, Northstar Lottery Group, amounts to pennies when compared to what the state gave away.  “We’re still not getting the kind of return that we could have if we would have just kept this in-house,” Franks said Monday… Illinois was the first state to hand its state lottery over to a private company, but questions about the contract and vetting process soon followed the choice of Northstar. Illinois Watchdog

PA: House committee makes big changes to liquor privatization bill. Members of the state House Liquor Control committee made big changes Monday to Gov. Corbett’s plan to privatize sales of wine and hard liquor, toning down the original proposal and making the path toward privatization more gradual. Although it is a scaled-back version of what the Republican governor envisioned, the House panel’s approval of the measure – by a 14-10 vote, strictly on party lines – marked a win for proponents, who have pushed for decades to turn the state’s 600-plus wine and spirits stores over to the private sector. The measure now heads to the House floor, where it could be voted on final passage as early as this week. Philadelphia Inquirer

PA: Opinion: Harrisburg bought and paid for by special interests. Selling off the wine stores is one time money being used to fund (education) continuing operations. What happens in five years when the money runs out? Privatizing the Lottery will make more money for the state. If you believe that I’ve got a bridge for sale! Remember, the Camelot Deal was made in the back room without hearings or other input. It is a no-bid contract with about $34 billion in projected revenue. However it has since been disclosed that Camelot has not performed well in England and is laying off staff and closing centers. Yet Corbett would have us believe that no one else would bid. In fact, it appears that the state hired three consulting firms to “get Camelot before the Administration.” (See Feb. 20, 2013 article on budget hearings.)

NJ: Senate passes bill to give Legislature a say in lottery privatization. A bill that would require legislative approval to privatize the state lottery is headed to the governor’s desk….Christie plans to let a private vendor take over the lottery’s sales and marketing for 15 years in exchange for an upfront payment of $120 million. The contractor would get to keep a cut of future revenues. The Communications Workers of America — the largest state workers union — have criticized the Christie administration for “secrecy” about the process and have launched an advertising blitz against the move, saying it would cost jobs. The Star-Ledger

VA: Editorial: Protecting public from sex offenders. Rather like the first private proposal to take over operation of Virginia’s public port, two bids to take over the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation came to the state unsolicited. One bid was rejected because officials decided that the private prisons operator focused too much on incarceration and not enough on treatment  This was precisely the concern that civil libertarians had raised when the privatization issue first surfaced. The second bid was rejected because it was too costly, proposing to charge $2.4 million a year more than Virginia spends to run the facility itself. Public management is more efficient that private enterprise in this case….But it is worth noting that the danger of escalating costs exists — especially if Virginia falls prey to the temptation of increasing civil commitments due to political pressure rather than impartial justice. The Daily Progress

ALEC Education Bill Hides Privatization Behind a Reading Skills Disguise. Many of the bills are chock-full of other education esoterica, most of which comes from model legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with the Jeb Bush Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) joined at the ALEC hip over right-wing efforts to establish impossible norms and imperatives for public schools thereby forcing these taxpayer-funded centers of learning to spend time and money unnecessarily. Money that red state legislatures have made sure is in precipitous decline. PoliticusUSA

Video: Corporations Get Rich off Children with Charter Schools The Young Turks