March 19, 2015


OH: Ohio State CFO leaving to join company behind parking deal. The chief financial officer at Ohio State University will leave the school to work for the investment firm that funded OSU’s parking-privatization plan, the school said Wednesday. . . . Chatas is going to work at QIC Global Infrastructure, the parent of Ohio State University parking operator CampusParc. Chatas was instrumental in that partnership. Columbus Business First

WI: Schools Plan Massive Layoffs After Scott Walker Guts Funding. . . “Over the last several years we’ve seen more kids in each classroom, less individual attention for children, and cuts to music, art, and physical education programs,” he said. “There are also way fewer guidance councilors and social workers, and given the Depression-like economic conditions that are in the community here, that’s a real serious problem. They now don’t have time to give kids guidance around post-high school possibilities like technical schools, apprenticeships or college.” . . . The money saved from the education cuts is specifically slated for property tax relief, which largely benefits the wealthiest in the state. “Walker keeps bragging that he’s reduced property taxes each year, but most people don’t see any real difference, and it has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Peterson, who works now with the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. “You can see it’s a talking point he’s using in his very self-interested political campaign.” ThinkProgress

TX: Tollway company’s authority could be curbed. Now the private Texas Turnpike Corp. and its 18 investors are fighting another blow in the form of an attempt to revoke its authority to condemn land for the stalled Northeast Gateway – or any other project, for that matter. Turnpike President John Crew said the state turns away from the tollway at its peril. “We’ve got devastating growth coming,” he said in a Senate hearing Wednesday, and an underfunded road-building effort hasn’t kept up. “The state with the most infrastructure wins.”  But Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, said taking land by eminent domain – a process that pays property owners fair market value – is “egregious” even when used by government for other projects. Hall told colleagues that he wants to end the Turnpike Corp.’s ability to do that, after several previous attempts. Weatherford Democrat

MI: Susan J. Demas: Latest Aramark scandal shows Republicans’ blind faith in privatization is half-baked. . . So let’s get this straight. Initially, it looked like Aramark wouldn’t really save taxpayers money. Then the state decided it would. Since then, the company has served up a steady stream of PR fiascos that revealed startling gaps in prison security. And yet Aramark still has a state contract. How many chances does one company deserve? In the business world, where Snyder and much of his team hail from, this never would have dragged on so long. Businesses can’t afford to tolerate public embarrassments and security breaches, because customers will walk. As it so happens, those being served by Aramark aren’t free to do anything. They’re prisoners, after all.

IA: Iowa DOT Cracks Down On Profit-Driven Speed Cameras. Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) wants ten of the thirty-four traffic cameras in use on state roads to come down. Officials reviewed documentation supplied by Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Muscatine and Sioux City and concluded on Tuesday that too many were not installed for safety purposes. The orders were based on rules that the department laid out Last year regulating the use of automated ticketing machines on state roads. The regulations are based on the premise that engineering solutions must be implemented before ticketing programs and that cameras should never be considered a “long-term solution” to a traffic safety problem. The principles discourage use of cameras on interstate highways because the amount of pass-through traffic makes it unlikely drivers will be aware the systems are in use, making improvement in driver behavior unlikely.

AR: House member pulls nonprofit school district proposal. An Arkansas lawmaker who sponsored a bill to assist failing school districts said he pulled the proposal on Tuesday less than an hour before hundreds of opponents descended on the Capitol to protest it. Republican Rep. Bruce Cozart told The Associated Press that he has deferred the bill and that it won’t come up again this session. He said he received more than 3,000 emails and countless calls about the proposal that opponents branded as a push to privatize education in the state. SFGate

Republicans want to privatize Medicare in new budget proposal. House Republicans will unveil a proposed budget Tuesday that would drastically reshape the federal government by privatizing Medicare and repealing ObamaCare, a report said. The ambitious agenda, which uses the policy prescriptions of Rep. Paul Ryan New York Post of Wisconsin, aims to slash federal spending and balance the budget within 10 years, according to The New York Times. Medicare would transform into a voucher-like program that subsidizes purchases of private health insurance. New York Post