Out of Control Policy Blog

Golfers Fight Privatization

Golfers in Mount Lebanon are fighting a privatization proposal of their 9-hole golf course. According to city documents, the course once did turn a profit, but hasn't since 1998 and due to staffing and expense levels it doesn't seem that it will in years to come.

Indeed, Mt. Lebanon's government is catching up with a larger movement. A Reason Policy study found that between 1987 and 1995, the number of cities contracting for golf-course services increased by 67 percent, bringing the total fraction of cities contracting for golf operations to around 25 percent.

Most golfers know that some of the best golf courses in the country are privately owned and operated. They also know that you get what you pay for. However, golfers in Mt. Lebanon are still fighting. What's most disturbing is that the leader of the movement, Bill Carson, is fighting against paying the full cost for a round of golf -- "We golfers pay about 93 percent of the freight. You're adding in a tax expense that will be passed on to us" -- instead, Mr. Carson who holds an MBA and PhD, would rather pass along that 7 percent onto the non-golfers...now that's a tax!


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