Friday Privatization News Highlights (6/17/2011 edition)

News articles on some of the more interesting developments on the state and local privatization front this week include:

  • Plan to privatize Meadowlands, Monmouth Park tracks proceeding, official says” (The Record): An update on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s efforts to lease the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park to private operators.
  • Chris Christie ends NJN, compares public radio to Communist Soviet Union” (Atlantic City Examiner): In other NJ news, Gov. Christie recently announced a deal to sell New Jersey’s state-owned public broadcasting (TV and radio) network to New York’s WNET. Gotta love the Governor’s quote: “We think it also meets our goal of making sure that government is out of the broadcasting business. [In] My view, that should have ended with the Soviet Union. It’s ending here in New Jersey after the fall of the wall in Berlin, but we’re getting there.”
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Medicaid privatization plan rejected by Louisiana House panel” (The Times-Picayune): Louisiana legislators are advancing a bill that would thwart Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plans to convert the Pelican State’s fee-for-service Medicaid program into a managed care delivery model. If ultimately passed, the bill would face an expected veto.
  • Reduction plan for state contracts advances” (Daily Comet): In other Louisiana news, the House Appropriations Committee has approved a bill that would require the state to reduce the total number of professional, personal, consulting and social-services contracts by 10 percent. This is about as blunt and ham-handed of a procurement policy approach as one could possibly conceive. It’s certainly sensible to seek improvements and innovations in state contracting approaches, generally speaking, but slicing and dicing contracts willy nilly seems like a fairly inept way to go about that. Policymakers should be smarter than this.
  • Harrisburg’s Act 47 blueprint calls for sale, lease of city assets” (Central Penn Business Journal):
  • A state-appointed rescue team has prepared a blueprint to put debt-laden, cash-strapped Harrisburg on a fiscal sanity track, and the plan recommends selling or leasing city assets that include the city’s trash incinerator and parking garages.
  • Long Island Bus, Nation’s Largest Suburban Bus Line, To Privatize” (Transportation Nation): Nassau County officials have announced that they have selected Veolia Transportation as the winning bidder to take over 48 Long Inland Bus lines currently operated by the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The privatization, expected to save $8 million annually, is expected to be implemented by the end of 2011.
  • Vote flips toward Fresno privatizing trash service” (The Business Journal): The Fresno City Council narrowly rejected Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s proposal to privatize city waste services earlier this year, but a recent change of heart by Councilmember Clint Olivier brings the issue back to the policy agenda, with approval likely.
  • Lake County (IL) Seeks Bids For Privatization Of Winchester House” (Libertyville Patch): The Lake County (Illinois) Board voted 13-10 this week to solicit private sector bids for the operation of Winchester House, the county’s nursing home.

For more on privatization, see Reason Foundation’s privatization research archive.