In this Dispatch, we emphasize that any stimulus spending has to be tied to increased
accountability and transparency in spending decisions, especially by
government contractors who often operate like a shadow government with
little oversight. One key reality is that those most in need often don't receive help from
government spending without transparency and accountability measures
built into the rules. While the recent federal recovery plan made real
strides in expanding such accountability, additional measures are still
needed if the recovery plan is going to deliver real equity in our
Given the central role of private contractors in delivering public services, this Dispatch continues our series of Privatization Updates (see November's edition). Today we focus on current privatization debates in the education, prison and mental health sectors -- and what states are doing to increase accountability for contractors.
In honor of Labor Day, we thought we would highlight some of our past
Dispatches which outline steps states can take to protect workers'
rights and raise wage standards. With new Census data
showing that the median
income for working-age households is still $1,300 below 2001 when the last
recession hit bottom, the need for states to act to improve working conditions
is greater than ever.
A number of state leaders have been promoting what seems like a free
lunch. Hand over control of government services to private industry and
those companies promise better service at a lower price. Like most
promises of a free lunch, privatization has mostly ended up being a
deceptive boondoggle, a point the non-partisan news sourceStateline.org emphasized this past week: