February 9, 2015


NJ: Christie signs law greenlighting fast track sale of N.J. public water systems. . . The Water Infrastructure Protection Act removes the public vote requirement to sell water systems throughout the state under emergency conditions that many systems currently meet. . . . Opponents warn that it is an attempt to turn private profits off public infrastructure at the expense of taxpayers — who themselves will end up paying for the purchase prices with increased rates. NJ.com

NE: Study: No real gains in attempt to privatize child welfare. Nebraska’s attempt to privatize its child welfare system has brought “no measurable benefits,” according to a new study produced for state lawmakers. The study compared results achieved by state child welfare workers and by the Nebraska Families Collaborative, the private agency that manages child welfare cases in the Omaha area. The study found no cost savings and no significant difference in outcomes for children and families. “It was, perhaps, a worthy experiment, but it has failed,” the authors, Helaine Hornby and Dennis Zeller, wrote in their report. Grand Island Independent

TX: Audit reviewing state contract to run North Texas psychiatric facility. As state health officials continue to take fire over the agency’s technology contracts, they’re facing another investigation into a proposed deal with a private company to run a North Texas psychiatric facility. The State Auditor’s Office is conducting a review into whether the Health and Human Services Commission followed state procurement laws when it awarded Correct Care Solutions a tentative contract to run Terrell State Hospital. The cost and the scope of the proposed deal aren’t publicly known. Austin American-Statesman

SC: Editorial: Columbia, SC, officials must keep public informed on water, sewer proposals. . . We aren’t opposed to Columbia exploring public-private or public-public partnerships — or even privatization that involves leasing or selling the system. Privatization isn’t inherently bad; it works well in some instances, although it’s not always the best way to deliver government services. In this instance, the question is what’s the best way to deliver more efficient water and sewer service at a reasonable rate and in a manner consistent with governmental principles. The State

NC: North Carolina School Privatization Could Impact Students With Disabilities. Advocates for children with disabilities are concerned about the impact North Carolina’s expanded charter school and private school voucher program may have on them. . . . Jane Wettach, director of the Children’s Law Clinic at Duke University, says the shifting of funds and focus to charter schools could specifically impact students who need additional support services. “Because charter schools tend to be independent, they don’t have the depth a public school district would have to deal with lots of different kinds of disabilities,” she says. Public News Service

Letter to Editor: Public Must Be Wary of Public-Private Partnerships. . . I believe the biggest attraction of public-private partnerships for elected officials is that those contracts allow surrogates to reach into the wallets of travelers at rates much higher than fuel taxes—with the additional bonus of the ability to increase taxes (toll rates) each year. There are no free roads. Wall Street Journal

The Spread of Privatization. . . The 1980s ushered in an era of privatization, where the state gave up on controlling many of the state owned assets it once championed as national symbols of success. As the government moved away from its role as producer to become a passive umpire in the domestic economy, decentralization and market provision of goods and services were deemed superior to state involvement in both providing efficiency and effectiveness. . . Many countries in the developing world started to question the success of privatization and the merits of pulling the government out of ownership in the economy. It is difficult to fault privatization for the mixed reviews it has received in corners of the global South, since it has ostensibly accomplished many of the merits it promised. But, increased societal demands and an aware public, raised questions and doubts about what was achieved and if privatization went too far. Centre for International Governance Innovation