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Private Status

by on January 11, 2011

The government tried. Sadly for them, there is no participation ribbon awarded by the universe for a lame effort. New York’s bloated, unaccountable monopoly remarkably doesn’t do a good job managing things or finances, which is fine unless you’re one of those fussy taxpayers who prefers worthwhile amenities at decent prices.

Thankfully, the state may take their business elsewhere, namely to businesses. Albany’s top money nerd is maybe in favor of letting someone other than state minions run our stuff, although he stodgily pouts about said prospect first:

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warns that New York’s expected use of partnerships with private companies to sell or lease state assets has many pitfalls.

After claiming that private might be bad, DiNapoli explains why private is good:

But he urges the state to consider public-private partnerships to deal with what he says are $250 billion in infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.

Now that’s what comptrolling is all about. Privatization’s trickiest consequence would be money fairly exchanged for benefits in a mutually pleasing transaction:

In other states, those partnerships have included leasing bridges for a large lump sum. The private company then sets and collects tolls and is responsible for maintenance.

DiNapoli warns in a report Monday that one of the concerns in such arrangements is unreasonable increases in tolls and fees.

But why sock all for the benefit of not all? People sitting on couches shouldn’t be charged to maintain the surfaces over which motorists are driving. It’s better to pay tolls than taxes: those availing themselves of roadways ought to be charged for what they use.

The trick is that taxes must then be concurrently lowered. Given that this is New damn York, we must eternally fear that we’ll be forced to pay usage fees on top of the approximately 713 percent average rate most residents fork over in levies.

But the situation is so dire that even a Cuomo of a governor is at least pretending to care about fiscal responsibility and the excruciating lack of retained income after the taxman visits. Considering our present dire Ghostbusters-style dogs-and-cats-living-together scenario, it’s possible that this state could shape up and strive to not be mega-ass broke anymore.

After all, private firms are at our mercy if they lease state items. They have to spend every day providing exceptional services while knowing they will be indifferently replaced if they don’t offer value. Fear of the poorhouse is a supreme motivator.

The efficiencies that are a natural byproduct of market competition explain why you get so much food at an acceptable cost: Wegmans and Tops fight for your every grocery dollar, and the winner is always you. By contrast, this state has been engaging in the unpleasant habit of pacifying union workers with obese pensions and stuffing the Medicaid roster.

With no competition and a demonstrated tendency to squander without consequence, why would the government do anything else? Usually, the only hope for change comes when voters will get sick of being a few billion dollars in debt, which is an outcome that sadly doesn’t seem to apply to the Empire State.

But there’s hope when even a Democratic comptroller is half-assedly endorsing letting businesses attempt to do that at which government sucks.

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