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Reason Foundation

Reason's Annual Privatization Report 2008 Released

Leonard Gilroy
August 6, 2008, 2:17pm

Reason is pleased to announce the release of its Annual Privatization Report 2008, available online at reason.org/apr2008/. Featuring the work of numerous Reason staffers and contributors, the report looks at the latest trends in privatization and public-private partnerships at the federal, state and local levels. From the press release:
Privatization remains a key policy focus as public officials grapple with deteriorating fiscal conditions, according to the report. With as many as 23 states potentially facing budget deficits in fiscal 2009, state governments are increasingly looking for ways to cut costs without cutting services. Enter the private sector. "Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell recently accepted a $12.8 billion bid to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in what would be the biggest toll road privatization deal in U.S. history," said Leonard Gilroy, director of government reform at Reason Foundation and author of the report. "Florida has undertaken over 150 outsourcing initiatives since 2005. Leaders of all political stripes recognize privatization is a proven policy tool that can help save money and balance budgets."
The report also singles out Chicago as a hotbed of local privatization under Democratic Mayor Richard Daley. Other topics explored in the report include airports, airport security, education, telecommunications, municipal broadband, water systems, and prisons. A few of the Annual Privatization Report's other notable points include: Federal Government The federal government's competitive sourcing efforts saved taxpayers $7.2 billion over the last five years. Taxpayers save $25,000 for every job that is put up for competition with the private sector because even when the government keeps the job it significantly improves efficiency and reduces costs. Roads and Infrastructure Today, there are over 70 public-private partnership infrastructure projects worth $104 billion at various stages of development in the United States. Education In the 2007-08 school year, 347 new charter schools opened in 40 different states. The five states with the largest school choice programs are Florida (39,000 students), Pennsylvania (38,000 students), Arizona (28,000 students), Wisconsin (19,000 students) and Ohio (14,000 students). State Lotteries In late 2007 and 2008, over a dozen states considered proposals to privatize their state lotteries. Reason's Annual Privatization Report 2008 is available online here, and our body of privatization research and commentary is available here.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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