FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Contact: Jessica Tramontana, firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-6302
HB 4549 copied and pasted from ALEC’s “Public-Private Fair Competition Act”
LANSING – Tuesday Rep. Greg MacMaster introduced a bill copied and pasted from the “Public-Private Fair Competition Act,” adopted by ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force and approved by ALEC’s Board of Directors in January 1995. The bill would prohibit public entities from competing against the private sector, and its definitions are so restrictive that it would allow corporations to take the state to court and force it to stop providing valuable public services. ALEC’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force includes the Tax Foundation (funded by the Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil), The Mackinac Center’s Richard Vedder, and other State Policy Network-funded groups including the Freedom Foundation, Goldwater Institute, and the Illinois Policy Institute.
“Once again Lansing Republicans have been caught copying their work from ALEC’s radical corporate agenda,” said Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “Republican leaders claim that ‘Michigan’s Comeback’ makes us a model for other states, yet they can’t even come up with any ideas that haven’t been tried and failed already. Lansing politicians need to drop these unnecessary attacks on middle-class families, and get to work creating jobs and investing in education.”
Lansing Republicans have repeatedly attempted to introduce bills mandating privatization since 2011. Republican Rep. Jon Bumstead last year introduced a bill that would reopen a private prison in Baldwin, just days after receiving a $500 campaign contribution from an executive at GEO Group.
Despite proponents’ claims, privatization would be bad for Michigan workers as well as the state’s budget. The first privately owned state prison in the country, Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Ohio, went through a state audit after just a year that found rampant abuses and conditions well below state standards. After being given another chance, the privately owned facility failed another inspection four months later. Despite these cut corners and repeated abuses, private corrections facilities cost taxpayers more.
In the past decade, three major private prison companies have spent $45 million on campaign contributions and lobbyists at the state and federal levels.
A 2011 study found that cost overruns weren’t limited to the prison industry. The Project on Government Oversight looked at 550 contracts representing 35 different jobs across all levels and departments of government, and found that private contractors cost more in 33 of those 35 jobs. On average, the study found, contracts paid private employees 83 percent more than the government would pay a federal employee doing the same job.
ALEC Model Bill “Public-Private Fair Competition Act”: http://www.scribd.com/doc/136700541
HB 4549, the “Government Competition Against Private Enterprise Act,” introduced by Rep. Greg MacMaster: http://www.scribd.com/doc/136700444
SourceWatch: ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force