Privatization Roundup, 10/29/2008

As I’ve commented recently (here and here, for starters), I’m definitely seeing an increasing interest in privatization across the board as state and local governments begin to reckon with the perfect storm of declining tax revenues, growing budget shortfalls, and swelling unfunded pension and health care obligations. In fact, there’s so much privatization activity now that it’s becoming difficult to keep track of everything. Since blogging everything individually would be prohibitive in terms of time, I’ve decided to periodically blog a roundup of recent articles on privatization not covered elsewhere in the Out of Control blog. The articles below are some highlights from the last three weeks alone:

Add these stories to those that we’ve already blogged on Out of Control, and it becomes very clear that privatization has been a hot issue in October 2008. And that should come as no surprise. Though most eyes have been focused on Wall Street and Washington DC the last several weeks, the less-recognized story is that the financial crunch is having a tremendous impact on state and local fiscal conditions. The burst in the housing bubble in many areas, and the cold housing market more generally, has put downward pressure on property tax revenues for starters. And the true extent of the damage won’t be known for months. So governments are having to scramble to do more with less, and policymakers seem to be increasingly recognizing that privatization is one of the proven tools for doing so. Reason’s Annual Privatization Report 2008 Reason’s Privatization Research and Commentary