Friday, May 7, 2010

Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh Backs Repeal of 'Misguided' Anti-Privatization Pacheco Law

Scot Lehigh has an op-ed in today's Boston Globe supporting the repeal of the state's anti-privatization Pacheco Law, which Lehigh calls a "misguided statute" that "erects a high and thoroughly unrealistic hurdle to tapping the private sector" for potential cost savings in the delivery of state services.

Citing figures provided by the Reason Foundation, Lehigh notes that Florida saved $550 million over eight years and Virginia saved $40 million a year through the privatization of certain state services. He also quotes Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer, who projects "large and growing savings year after year" if the Pacheco Law is repealed or amended, adding that "states and municipalities across the country have shown that competitive bidding can save money and improve services."

The Senate Republican Caucus doesn't need to be convinced about the millions of dollars in savings Massachusetts could realize by doing away with the Pacheco Law. You may recall that the Caucus led the effort to repeal the law during last year's budget debate, only to fall short on a vote of 11-28. The Caucus claimed a partial victory, however, when the Senate agreed to raise the cost threshold for determining which projects are exempt from the Pacheco Law.

With the state facing a structural deficit in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget approaching $3 billion, now is the time to streamline state government and implement cost-saving reforms. Repealing the Pacheco Law should be at the top of that "to do" list.