Out of Control Policy Blog

Arizona Privatization/Efficiency Board Bill Advances

Arizona policymakers took an important step today, passing Senate Bill 1466 out of the Senate Government Institutions Committee on an 6-2 vote. SB 1466 would establish a Florida-style Council on Efficient Government, a centralized, independent decision making body designed to manage privatization and efficiency initiatives and develop a transparent and performance-based decisionmaking process for doing so.

As I told the committee in testimony this morning, this concept--a state center of excellence in procurement policy--is fundamentally designed to address two key things. First, it's about creating an entity within government who's job is to help "right-size" government through competition and privatization. And second, it's about creating an institutional tool to apply what former Indianapolis mayor and current Harvard professor Stephen Goldsmith has called the "Yellow Pages test," meaning if a service can be found in the phone book, government ought to buy it rather than produce it in-house.

With a current budget shortfall topping $3 billion and more deficits projected for the next several years, this bill couldn't have come at a better time. Florida's Council has helped the state save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars the last several years, for example.

Simply put, doing more with less requires breaking the inertia that keeps spending on autopilot and taking a fresh look at what services the state is providing and whether or not the public sector is the best way to deliver them. Just because government is tasked with providing Service X doesn't mean the public sector offers the cheapest means of delivering it--in fact, often it's not. If taxpayers would get a better deal by contracting with a nonprofit firm or private company, it should behoove policymakers to use similar opportunities before resorting to tax hikes or service cuts. When budgets get tight, families shop around for the best deal in order for their family to survive. State government should do the same.

The text of SB 1466 is available here, and Reason offers more info on the idea here, here, here and here.

» Reason's Privatization Research and Commentary

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform

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Comments to "Arizona Privatization/Efficiency Board Bill Advances":

Slitt | June 16, 2009, 7:16pm | #

Wow...this is so obvious. You have no clue what you are writing about. To even consider supporting this crazy idea. Do you know what is involved in running a prison? Given...if you believe that inmates should JUST be housed...alright. But, if you are planning to produce productive people coming from the perison and if you plan on providing health care, education, work, transportation, case-work, release plans to these inmates...guess what. Private prisons fall short because they can't afford such services. Oh...and once private...hehe...guess who will increase the cost of housing inmates and charge the state more?
Ya...do some more research please.

William | June 17, 2009, 4:04pm | #


Even if one does not ask or pretends not to see the rope and the flashing red flag draped around the philosophical question standing solemnly at attention in the middle of the room, it remains apparent that the mere presence of a private “for profit” driven prison business in our country undermines the U.S Constitution and subsequently the credibility of the American criminal justice system. In fact, until all private prisons in America have been abolished and outlawed, “the promise” of fairness and justice at every level of this country’s judicial system will remain unattainable. We must restore the principles and the vacant promise of our judicial system. Our government cannot continue to "job-out" its obligation and neglect its duty to the individuals confined in the correctional and rehabilitation facilities throughout this nation, nor can it ignore the will of the people that it was designed to serve and protect. There is urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of indifference, apathy, cynicism, fear, and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.

My hope is that you will support the National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) with a show of solidarity by signing "The Single Voice Petition"

Please visit our website for further information: http://www.npsctapp.blogspot.com

–Ahma Daeus
"Practicing Humanity Without A License"...

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