The Year 2011 in State Government Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships

The rollout of Reason Foundation’s Annual Privatization Report 2011 begins today with the release of the State Government Privatization section, which I co-authored with Reason’s Lisa Snell. This section of APR 2011 provides an overview of the latest on privatization and public-private partnerships in state government. Topics include:

  • In New Jersey, the Christie administration continued to expand its portfolio of privatization initiatives in 2011, which included highway maintenance, manual toll collection, state-run horse racing facilities, vehicle fleet operation, the NJ Network TV station and more.
  • Two ratings agencies upgraded Louisiana’s credit rating in 2011, citing the state’s strong fiscal management, strong employment levels and sustainable levels of public debt. Privatization remained a central feature of the Jindal administration’s fiscal management in 2011, with progress on some of its major healthcare privatization initiatives in Medicaid delivery, public employee health care and behavioral health services.
  • New Ohio Gov. John Kasich has already taken significant steps to advance privatization as a key component of his governing agenda, including privatizing the state’s economic development agency, selling a state prison to a private operator, and hiring advisors to analyze the potential privatization of the Ohio Turnpike and Ohio Lottery.
  • In late 2011, Washington State became the first state since the end of Prohibition in 1932 to fully privatize the sale and distribution of liquor, and several other states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia, considered similar moves. Today, 33 states have completely private wholesale and retail trade in liquor, while 17 states still retain a state-run wholesale and/or retail liquor monopoly.
  • Puerto Rico continued to emerge as a leader in attracting private investment in public infrastructure, with public-private partnerships undertaken or underway in 2011 that include a modernization of 100 K-12 schools, a $1.5 billion toll road lease and an ongoing procurement for a long-term lease of San Juan’s international airport.
  • In 2011, both Texas and Connecticut enacted broad-ranging laws to authorize private sector financing for infrastructure assets.
  • As state park systems continued to face significant fiscal pressures in 2011, policymakers in states like Arizona, Utah and California took steps to expand the use of private for-profit and nonprofit operators to take over state parks threatened with closure.
  • Illinois’ groundbreaking lottery privatization program got underway in 2011, an initiative designed to generate an additional $1 billion in revenues to the state over the next five years. Policymakers in California, New Jersey, and Ohio are considering similar moves.
  • After years of implementation challenges that prompted a dramatic overhaul, Indiana’s privatized welfare eligibility modernization program significantly improved its performance in 2011, prompting federal officials to authorize its expansion throughout the state and award the state $1.6 million in recognition of its progress at reducing its error rates for food stamp processing.
  • Other topics include public-private partnerships in higher education, an update on state child welfare privatization systems and more.

Annual Privatization Report 2011: State Government
Complete Annual Privatization Report 2011 homepage