Government Spending

Chris Christie's (Potential) Privatizations

|

What is your nomination for the most intriguing political story this year? Here's mine: What if New Jersey Governor Chris Christie actually succeeds in paring down the Garden State's runaway public sector, and maintains or even increases his political popularity while doing so? Here's the latest proposed reform:

New Jersey would close its centralized car inspection lanes and motorists would pay for their own emissions tests under a sweeping set of recommendations set to be released by the Christie administration today.

State parks, psychiatric hospitals and even turnpike toll booths could also be run by private operators, according to the 57-page report on privatization obtained by The Star-Ledger. Preschool classrooms would no longer be built at public expense, state employees would pay for parking and private vendors would dish out food, deliver health care and run education programs behind prison walls.

All told, the report says, New Jersey could save at least $210 million a year by delivering an array of services through private hands.

Whole thing here. Link via The Corner.

UPDATE: The Reason Foundation, which is the 501(c)(3) non-profit (donate today!) that publishes Reason-branded editorial content and does public-policy research, participated enthusiastically in the preparation of this study. Which you can read in full at this link [PDF].

Advertisement

NEXT: The Government From Boeing

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “state employees would pay for parking”

    If nothing else, I really hope this one comes to pass.

  2. What produces efficiency is market competition, not just private ownership. Moving services from direct government operation to operation by a privately-owned monopoly often makes things worse, not better, since the private monopoly is even less accountable than the government was.

    1. Exactly. For a free market to work both the supply and the demand have to ome from private soruces not from government.

    2. Agreed. But the one benefit here is the “fuck you” to government employees who would be gotten rid of in place of the private providers. Christie seems to be very willing to defy the public sector unions and employees, and that’s a good thing. At least he’d be sending an additional message to that effect.

    3. My first thought was that transferring service management from state employees to their carefully selected private sector cronies isn’t really going to solve anything.

    4. Agree. I’d like to see multiple competing garbage services, rather than just subcontracting garbage pickup to a local monopoly.

      Honestly, I can’t see why this isn’t possible. The fact that there are lots of local landscaping and yard maintainence companies which pickup leaves and branches from pruning shows it’s possible.

      You might need those huge trucks for commercial trash pickup, but individual residences could eaily hire some guy with a truck to go around picking it up.

      1. My dad lived for years in an area where this was done. People who lived in town paid more for trash pickup to the city than the people outside who contracted with private companies.

        1. My parents still live in an area where that is done. They hire the trash pickup service of their choice.

    5. What in the article makes you think there won’t be competition? It didn’t say anything about handing over public services to a monopoly.

      1. Because even in states/municipalities where contract competition is mandated, the contract usually goes to a business owned by the brother/sister/cousin/buddy of someone in charge of making the decision. By huge coincidence, of course.

  3. What is your nomination for the most intriguing political story this year?

    Obama ordering the Justice Department to support the New Black Panthers.

  4. I love this guy more and more every day. If he can defeat the out of control, corrupt New Jersey public sector, who knows what else he could accomplish down the line.

  5. I am very impressed so far by Christie. I don’t want to be, because I’m afraid of a letdown.

  6. I’m 80% happy with Christie. I do wish he would stop dragging his feet of implimenting medical marijuana.

    1. Since when would a former prosecutor not drag their feet on legalizing marijuana?

    2. On his list of 100 Most Important Things To Get Done, I seriously doubt marijuana reform is near the top, nor should it be. Politicians have to prioritize and choose their battles wisely.

  7. What percentage of the state budget is 210 million?

    1. I got off my metaphorical ass and looked it up. It’s 29.4 billion for 2011.

      1. A journey of $5 billion begins with $210 million

  8. “””New Jersey would close its centralized car inspection lanes and motorists would pay for their own emissions tests under a sweeping set of recommendations set to be released by the Christie administration today.””

    What do you mean by centralized? Private inspection stations already exist. The difference is you must pay out of pocket for a inspection at a private facility. An inspection is free at state facility.

    I’m a little torn. On one hand, you should pay for your inspection. On the other hand, making government pay for its own mandates is a way to use the purse as a check on government powers.

    1. The government doesn’t pay for anything.

      1. Florida doesn’t have a car inspection requirement.
        Cars aren’t falling apart everywhere!

        1. Neither does Arkansas.

      2. “”The government doesn’t pay for anything.””

        If people are going to elect lawmakers that like to pass mandates, they should be willing to pay for those mandates which they empowered their government to enact.

        Is that better?

    2. CA makes everyone pay for their own smog check…

    3. The inspection stations are paid for by vehicle registration fees. If they are going to close the “free” inspection stations, they should either give drivers a voucher, which can be used a private garage, or lower the reg. fees.

  9. Privatization is nothing new in NJ. The entire DMV is privatized.

    That whole Parson’s thing was nothing but a political payback by the Whitman administration to begin with. They don’t even use all of that equipment anymore. All of the private inspection stations in NJ will still be licensed and regulated by the state. My old mechanic doesn’t even do it anymore because there’s so much bullshit to deal with.

    Christie seems willing to take on the unions, but only on certain things. I’ll be impressed when he pushes for a school voucher system, and a Constitutional Amendment that nullifies the Abbott decisions. Yeah, he can cut spending, but he’s not addressing the underlying issues. He just seems to be shifting costs like any good politician. Local municipalities are being forced to cut emergency services.

    1. It’s good that municipalities are being forced to cut emergency services. Now people will see what happens when the government at all levels spends freely. Eventually, people will come to realize emergency services are either done privately, or they are top priorities for communities to spend their tax dollars on while sacrificing in some less needed area of government funded life.

    2. Local municipalities are being forced to cut emergency services.

      I’m skeptical of this claim every time it comes up. Local politicians always use the ‘we’ll have cut police and fire’ line when it’s budget time. I seriously doubt the only thing that can be trimmed from the budget in Small Town, NJ is the emergency services.

        1. Yeah, the union rejected the contract and the township laid off officers. Doesn’t exactly prove your point.

          1. Christie seems willing to take on the unions, but only on certain things.

            Yeah, the union rejected the contract and the township laid off officers. Doesn’t exactly prove your point.

            Really?

      1. So now one cop comes to interview you after you’ve been robbed and raped as opposed to two cops. Or now only the firetruck shows up at the fire instead of the firetruck and the fire SUV with the guy that doesn’t have any fire hoses.

      2. Yup. It’s always that and never the the new office furniture.

  10. This all sounds great. What about allowing people in New Jersey to pump their own gas? What is the rationale behind prohibiting that? Are all the gas pumpers members of SEIU or something?

    1. NJ has the most millionare of any state, they lobbied hard for the ability to force someone else to do it. 😉

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.