Take Note: Privatization
A number of privatization initiatives have been proposed in Pennsylvania in recent years. A combination of state and local budget crises has prompted these so-called public-private partnerships that seek to transfer ownership of public assets or services to the private sector in exchange for lump sums of money. Everything from the state lottery to liquor sales and even prisons are up for grabs. The belief among proponents of these deals is that the private sector can do many things better—and usually for less money—than governments can. Critics say privatization often exploits financial hardship, undermines democracy and, in the long-run costs taxpayers money. Here to talk about that is Ellen Dannin, a law professor at Penn State and a leading legal expert on these public-private deals.
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