BY PAUL LAZARO – In response to a $7 billion budget shortfall, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order forming the New Jersey Privatization Task Force. In early July, the task force released a concise 60-page report detailing steps the state can take to create a more efficient government.
Some of the report’s recommendations include leasing state public parks to private concessionaires, privatizing the state hospital debt collection agency, and outsourcing the management of the state toll booths.
All together, the taxpayer and state government stand to save more than $210 million. In short, Governor Christie and the Privatization task force are taking their bloated government to the mattresses, and it’s time for Hawaii and other states to follow suit.
It’s well documented that Hawaii currently faces a $1.2 billion shortfall. In response, the government has mandated that many government departments and employees follow a furlough program.
The issue with the furlough program, as any visitor to the DMV can tell you, is limited government operations. More importantly the furlough program fails to address the real issue: bloated government.
If Hawaii privatized some of the functions of government, departments under furlough would stay open regardless of the state’s budget. This was the case in 1994 during the Federal budget war between the Clinton Administration and the Republican controlled Congress.
While virtually all government was closed as a result of no budget, the privatized government sector, namely Federal parks under private contract, remained open.
Proposing a privatization task force may not be original, but what better legacy for the Lingle administration than the proposition of real solutions to this budget nightmare.
PAUL LAZARO IS WITH THE GRASSROOT INSTITUTE OF HAWAII