July 1, 2013


Pushback Against Privatization Across the Country. The decades-long effort to privatize public services and assets is hitting some bumps, with state and local governments reconsidering whether for-profit companies should be allowed to indiscriminately profit off of taxpayer dollars with limited accountability. In New Jersey, legislation to ensure that public services won’t be privatized unless it will result in actual savings for taxpayers has passed both chambers of the legislature. In Texas, a bipartisan coalition is fighting against a private prison in Montgomery County, and Kentucky is rejecting private prisons altogether. And in Fresno, California, voters rejected a proposal backed by the city’s popular mayor to privatize trash collection services.  Common Dreams

A Theory: De-privatize military industries to help achieve peace. Nationalize all the military industries, and under government control achieve astronomical savings for the taxpayers while reducing the continuing TENDENCY to “find another war, start another war, wish for another war, pretend there is a war and give us more trillions in profits” syndrome that is basic to privately owned war industries. Ask Harry Truman. Ask Dwight Eisenhower. And other sound thinkers about the Military Industrial Complex.  Daily Koz

WI: Sale of state property raises controversies in other states. Gov. Scott Walker will have new power to sell state heating plants, highways and other properties, but privatization deals in other states have ranged widely in popularity and success….The provision in the state budget is wide enough to allow for the sale of the state Capitol, as Democrats have noted, but Walker said such sales, or ones for campus dormitories, are not under consideration.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

PA: Liquor Privatization Debate Continues. The main Pennsylvania state budget bill became law with Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature on Sunday night, as he acknowledged that the wider agenda he had sought with it of overhauling public employee pension systems, privatizing wine and liquor sales and increasing transportation funding has stalled until the fall.  NBC 10 Philadelphia

PA: Backdoor attempt to outsource Pennsylvania Lottery’s management fizzles. An effort to include language in a budget-related bill granting authority to the secretary of the Department of Revenue to privatize certain aspects of the lottery has proved to be a losing ticket. House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said on Saturday night the idea was being explored by a lobbyist for a firm seeking to get a private management deal. Patriot-News

OH: Ohio to Privatize Prison Foodservice. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections will privatize its food service for the state’s 50,000-plus prisoners beginning in the fall. The state agency on Friday selected Aramark Corp., a Philadelphia-based company to serve meals three-times-a-day at its adult facilities. The two-year deal is worth $110 million, with the option for two, two year extensions, according to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.  Cleveland Plain Dealer

IL: Tollway says new system will improve customer service, violation processing. The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority board approved a $44 million contract with a Chicago-based company to build a new customer service and toll violation processing system that could offer those features, officials said…. Scheduled to be in place by 2015, the system will improve how transactions from the Tollway’s 1.4 million daily drivers are processed and help eliminate violation errors, said Shana Whitehead, the Tollway’s chief of business systems. The six-year contract is with the Chicago-based management consulting and technology services firm Accenture. Chicago Tribune

WA: Districts split over charter schools. Washington voters have decided they want to add charter schools to the education mix in the state, and the three largest districts are taking different approaches to the question: What should charter schools mean to our community? Seattle has decided to basically ignore the question for now; Tacoma is still learning and exploring; and Spokane has jumped in with both feet. The Seattle Times

MI: Democrats want investigation into quality of care for veterans after privatization. House Democrats say quality of care for veterans at a state-run home in Grand Rapids has suffered since nursing aides were privatized this spring. Michigan Radio

FL: Governor signs public-private partnership measure. Gov. Rick Scott has signed a measure into law despite a veto request from a Florida League of Cities official, who argued that it favored private developers’ interests over those of taxpayers.,,,The measure’s sponsor, state Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, defended it Friday, saying that it simply creates guidelines for cities and counties and other governmental entities to use in drawing up financial arrangements for partnerships between public and private bodies….The league contended it would eliminate the necessary flexibility to negotiate and contract with private entities, adding, “The public-private framework required under the bill is specificallydesigned to benefit private entities at the expense of Florida’s taxpayers.”Bradenton Herald

FL: Editorial: Dangers of privatizing work-release. Finally, residents in a Largo neighborhood can sleep a little easier. Florida’s decision Friday to close a work-release center run by Goodwill Industries-Suncoast took longer than it should have taken. But it came less than 24 hours after Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri provided evidence that little had changed there despite nine months of high-profile scrutiny and legislative action. The entire episode should give state Republican leaders pause about the continued push to put more corrections operations in private hands and how those facilities operate. Public safety, including rehabilitation for soon-to-be-released prisoners, is more important than saving a few dollars. Tampabay.com

CA: Editorial: Will UC march down path of privatization? It should be remembered that taxpayer dollars helped build institutions such as the Anderson school. Continued public support helps ensure the school remains focused on service to California, as opposed to service to alumni and corporations that contribute to the school. It would be a vote of confidence in the state for the UC to hold back on further moves towards privatization. It also should reassess some of the revenue-generating moves it made during tight times, such aggressive recruitment of foreign students willing to pay out-of-state tuition.  Sacramento Bee