Monthly Archives: November 2010

Store wine kiosks could be short-lived

Source: Tracie Mauriello, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 28, 2010

If proposals to privatize state liquor stores gain momentum, new self-serve wine kiosks could go the way of eight-track tapes and floppy disks….With a Republican-controlled Legislature and a privatization-minded governor-elect, the idea to sell of the 621 Wine and Spirits stores isn’t so far-fetched anymore….Mr. Turzai has a plan to generate $2 billion by auctioning 100 wholesale distribution licenses and 750 retail licenses. Mr. Lesser said the plan is short-sighted because the $2 billion would disappear quickly and the state would lose out on revenue from the mark-up on wine and spirits. Mr. Turzai disagrees. He said the $2 billion could be invested to generate a steady stream of revenue. And, he said, while the state would lose about $90 million annually from sales mark-ups, alcohol tax collections, which approach $400 million annually, would not change.
Updated:
Poll finds 66 percent favor privatizing liquor stores
Source: Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 16, 2010
A Push to Privatize Pennsylvania Liquor Stores
Source: Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, December 31, 2010
Pa. Senators Hear Liquor Store Privatization Arguments
Source: Associated Press, February 15, 2011

City extends contract with town for water service

Source: Craig Fox, Watertown Times, November 30, 2010

The Watertown City Council on Monday night approved a three-year contract extension to provide water to the town. The contract extension includes the same terms of the previous three-year agreement — 120 percent of the first tier that city users pay for the service….According to the contract, the town can receive up to 300,000 gallons of water per day from the Arsenal Street water district, up to 125,000 gallons per day along the Washington Street line, 14,000 gallons for the Cook Road subdivision and 30,000 gallons from another district along Washington Street.

Common Council to tackle Overture Center amendments and proposals

Source: Maggie DeGroot, Daily Cardnial, November 29, 2010

On Tuesday the City Council is expected to make final decisions about the future of the Overture Center. However, in the past week, two city alders have released a new proposed model for the Overture Center. In addition, the city alders proposed amendments for the private model and the center’s independent consultant released his final report.
See also:
Laptop City Hall: Local union opposes Overture privatization, supports a public model – Capital Times
Walker asks Wis. Legislature to wait on approving labor contracts – Badger Herald
Editorial: City officials shouldn’t attach strings to Overture’s future – Wisconsin State Journal

Updated:
Future ownership of Overture Center no longer clear
Source: AFSCME Local 60, June 12, 2011
Overture foundation eager to make takeover work, while mayor mulls new direction
Source: Dean Mosiman, Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday, June 12, 2011

Union, DOT Spar Over Privatized Inspections / Does Using Contractors Reduce Costs?

Source: Don Stacom, The Hartford Courant, November 28, 2010

A state board is looking into whether privatization of some bridge inspections saves or costs the state money….At issue is whether the expensive and often complex job of safety inspections is assigned to unionized state employees or to private companies. The union and the DOT administration each say the numbers are on their side…The DOT expects to pay six contractors a total of roughly $10 million for safety checks of long highway bridges and overpasses this year, and an undetermined amount to other contractors for railroad bridge inspections.

Medical care at Syracuse jail to be privatized

Source: Bruce Peak, PSLweb.org, Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Jan. 1, 2011, the Onondaga County legislature will turn over the county-operated medical care for inmates of county institutions to Correctional Medical Care, a private, for-profit company based in Rochester, N.Y. The contract is for $24.6 million over three years and includes all adult and juvenile facilities. … County workers, represented by the New York State Nurses Association and Civil Service Employees Association, have refused to accept the privatization. The unions will file suit with the Public Employees Relations Board to block the action. Their current contract grants them exclusive coverage for these jobs until 2012.

Let’s talk turkey about privatizing Social Security

Source: Allan Sloan, Washington Post, Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving is upon us, making this a perfect time to go searching for turkeys – the financial variety, of course. But this year, rather than looking backward at inept deals or government programs, let’s try to find future turkeys. And the biggest one is . . . privatizing Social Security. …. Why is privatizing Social Security such a turkey? Because retirees shouldn’t have to depend on the market’s vagaries for survival money. …. But Social Security isn’t supposed to be a gambling program, or a wealth-building program. It’s an intergenerational social insurance program, in which we make sure our parents don’t have to depend on food banks and homeless shelters when they get old, and we hope our kids do the same for us.

Custodians lose battle to stay in the schools

Source: Cindy Forrest, The Record, Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After listening to dozens of comments, all opposed to outsourcing custodial services, the Montville Board of Education voted unanimously to eliminate 37 jobs and hire Cleveland-based GCA Services Group….The savings represent big numbers for the district which was badly damaged in the spring when it lost $3.2 million in state funding and almost another million cut by the Township Committee after the budget was defeated.

However, the parents who spoke on the subject didn’t see money as the issue. One reason was the spread of a packet prepared by the office of New Jersey Education Association field representative Vickie Walsh throughout the district. It chronicled seven news articles in which GCA employees were involved in illegal activities including stolen property, assault with a deadly weapon, rape and indecent exposure. Parents were passionate in their opposition to the outsourcing balancing with concerns about safety with the highest of praise for the current staff of custodians. Jason Jones, who has children attending Woodmont, said that a 10-minute Google search revealed that GCA employees had been identified as felons, rapists and molesters.

In Kinnelon a decision to outsource custodial services was avoided and an agreement reached that will keep the custodial staff onboard at least through June 30, 2011…Tevis said that GCA will be encouraged to hire as many of the downsized custodians as possible but according to Walsh at the $7 an hour salary GCA offers, most won’t be able to afford to sign on.

Contrasting Visions of Urban Transport: Critique of “Fixing Transit: The Case For Privatization”

Source: Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, 14 November 2010

From the summary:
This report critiques, Randal O’Toole’s new paper, Fixing Transit: The Case For Privatization which recommends complete privatization and self-finance of public transit. This analysis indicates that such privatized, unsubsidized transit service would be inferior and less efficient overall than what exists in most cities, and would fail to meet consumer demands.

JLARC report says McDonnell’s liquor plan is off by millions

Source: Anita Kumar, Washington Post,Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s original proposal to privatize the state’s 76-year liquor monopoly may have overstated by tens of millions of dollars the amount of money Virginia could make from selling the entire system, according to a legislative study released Tuesday. The report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found that in many instances, the Republican governor’s staff was too rosy in its estimates, but in others it simply made mathematical errors. For example, auditors found, the state could receive less than half of the $160 million McDonnell expected from selling wholesale licenses and up to $81 million less from auctioning retail licenses. And the price of distilled spirits in Virginia could rise.
Updated:
Governor says he’ll renew push for ABC privatization
Source: Tyler Whitley, Times Dispatch, June 30, 2011
Plenty of proposals to get state out of liquor business
Source: Sean Gorman, Politifact, September 26th, 2011