June 16, 2015

After 8 Years Running Florida, Jeb Bush Has A Lot To Explain. . . Bush’s changes on the economic front were even more influential. He eliminated about 13,000 government jobs — more than 10 percent of the entire state government — in part by privatizing a slew of public services, including foster care, adoption services, legal representation for death row prisoners, human resources, and state parks. His penchant for privatization continued after he left office, with investments in private disaster response corporations and for-profit education. He has recently called for privatizing veterans health care. ThinkProgress

House Committee Chairman: Privatize Air Traffic Control.The chairman of the House transportation committee said Monday he’ll introduce a bill that takes control of air traffic operations away from the government and places it under the control of a non-profit corporation run by airlines and other segments of the aviation industry. . . . Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the committee, said he has “a number of serious concerns about the constitutionality, the national security implications, and the logistical challenges of separating the system.” Airlines have been heavily lobbying Congress to give them a greater say in air traffic operations and how they are paid for. The non-profit corporation would be run by a board that would include airlines, private plane owners, and labor unions, among others. ABC News

PA: Why The Latest Liquor Privatization Bill Might Actually Pass. Yes, we’ve heard a million times before that the Pennsylvania Legislature is mulling a liquor privatization bill. A million times before, it’s gone nowhere. So why highlight the latest bill from Sen. Scott Wagner, a York County Republican? Answer: Precisely because it’s originating in the Senate, where previous House attempts at privatization have long gone to die. Philadelphia Magazine (blog)

NC: NCGA may tap school privatization advocates to hand out taxpayer funds to charter schools. . . The budget proposal being considered by the General Assembly may break new ground in state spending by letting Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina decide which fledgling charter schools get a piece of $1 million a year, N.C. Center for Nonprofits vice president David Heinen said. “This is probably unique to have a completely independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit having discretion without a lot of criteria,” said Heinen, citing the chapter of federal tax law describing charity and educational groups. “I don’t know of any other that is quite like this.” Progressive Pulse

IL: Lawmakers To Look At Privatizing State Agency Upon Return Tuesday. . . The Illinois House will focus on one item from Rauner’s wish-list: partially privatizing the state’s Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. . . Critics say that could lead to a misuse of state funds. WNIJ and WNIU

IN: Loan program for charter schools draws scrutiny. The Indiana Senate’s top budget writer is sounding an alarm about a new provision included in the spending plan lawmakers passed this year that gives charter schools access to $50 million in low-interest state loans. But Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley has concerns about the risk to taxpayers, noting that many charter schools have significant debt. “I don’t think they have the ability to retire that debt. It’s really a problem,” Kenley, R-Noblesville. Gov. Mike Pence said the new law, which takes effect July 1, will help charter schools pay for facilities. South Bend Tribune           

OH: Charter school owes state nearly $1.2 million. A former Dayton charter school owes taxpayers nearly $1.2 million after padding its attendance rolls and receiving state aid for students who never attended. General Chappie James Leadership Academy in Dayton reported enrollment of 459 students, however an investigation by state Auditor Dave Yost found nearly half of those students had never attended or long since left the school. Columbus Dispatch

FL: Opinion: Parks are not for profit. . . If the 27 million Floridians and tourists enjoyed the state parks during their visit and want them managed in a sensitive professional manner, they had better make their voices heard without delay. The Department of Environmental Protection, which administers the Florida Park Service, is converting our state parks to consumptive use (multiple-use). No tree will be safe, wildflowers and wetlands will be grazed and trampled, and deer and turkey will be shot. No state park will be secure from exploitation. The state parks collected 77 percent of their costs last year. Isn’t that good enough? They are not for profit. They are your parks. It is your choice. Make your voices heard. Gainesville Sun