Add Massachusetts to the List…

Of states talking about leasing assets — e.g., turnpike, lottery — former Mass Governor William Weld has been hitting the capital hard, talking to anyone who will listen about the merits of privatization. Weld was a staunch supporter of privatization while Governor, privatizing some 36 functions saving taxpayers more than $273 million in just two years. Like many states, Mass is cash strapped and they’re looking for new ways to fund needed infrastructure. At this stage its too early to know if privatization has a chance in Mass. Further, its not clear if the states’ onerous privatization process, the Pacheco law (see pg 13), will apply to leasing assets. If it does, privatization isn’t likely to go anywhere. Since its inception, the requirements of the Pacheco Law have discouraged private firms from seeking contracts in Massachusettsââ?¬â??and the cumbersome process has created a disincentive for agencies to attempt privatization.

Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.