ITPI Resources and Publications

Shift: How Taxpayers Began Reclaiming Control of their Public Services

In 2014, nineteen states saw action to curb the reckless outsourcing of public services, and four states so far have signed responsible contracting measures into law. This legislative recap includes a chart and map showing the legislative shift. 

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Race to the Bottom: How Outsourcing Public Services Rewards Corporations and Punishes the Middle Class

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As state and local governments outsource important public functions to for-profit and other private entities, what happens to the quality of life for the workers who provide these services, and the communities in which they live? A growing body of evidence and industry wage data suggest an alarming trend: outsourcing public services sets off a downward spiral in which reduced worker wages and benefits can hurt the local economy and overall stability of middle and working class communities. By paying family-supporting wages and providing important benefits such as health insurance and sick leave, governments historically created intentional “ladders
of opportunity” to allow workers and their families to reach the middle class. This is especially true for women and African Americans for whom the public sector has been a source of stable middle-class careers. Low-road government contracts reverse this dynamic. While corporations rake in increasing profits through taxpayer dollars and CEO compensation continues to soar, numerous examples in this report show that workers employed by state and local government contractors receive low wages and few benefits.

 

ITPI Privatization Resource Guide

The resources in this resource guide are produced by ITPI, members of the ITPI Scholars Network and other close allies. The publications are intended to provide educational information and inform winning campaigns to ensure that public services and assets are publicly controlled and contracts with private entities are transparent, accountable, effectively monitored, and that those contracts meet the long-term needs of communities.

The Cost of Private Prisons

The private prison industry claims that governments can save money by privatizing prisons, but what does the evidence actually indicate? This backgrounder summarizes recent research and state reports related to private prison costs, and then discusses some common, yet dangerously flawed and unsound tactics employed to make private prisons appear cost effective.

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Infrastructure Justice: Building Equity into Infrastructure Financing

Public funding of infrastructure is well known to be the least expensive way to finance major infrastructure projects. But in light of the pressure governments face to aggressively pursue private funds for public infrastructure, we believe it is critical to clarify our goals and principles so that Public-Private Partnerships are truly structured as win-win-win propositions.

Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations

Eager for quick cash, state and local governments across America have for decades handed over control of critical public services and assets to corporations that promise to handle them better, faster and cheaper.  Unfortunately for taxpayers, not only has outsourcing these services failed to keep this promise, but too often it undermines transparency, accountability, shared prosperity and competition – the underpinnings of democracy itself.  As state legislatures soon reconvene, policy makers likely will consider more outsourcing proposals.  Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations serves as a cautionary tale for lawmakers and taxpayers alike.

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Making the Grade? Questions to Ask About School Services Privatization

This guide provides examples of important questions that decision makers should consider when faced with a proposed privatization effort. Advocates, including school service personnel, teachers, parents, and members of the community can use these questions to ensure that decision makers keep students’ and the broader district’s best interest at the heart of these conversations. They should be able to answer each of these questions before making the decision to privatize school services. These questions can be helpful to use during meetings with school administrators, in testimony at school board hearings, and even in meetings with allies to draw attention to problems with a proposed privatization initiative. While this is not a complete or exhaustive guide, it provides a framework for examining and evaluating school services privatization.

Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and "Low-Crime Taxes" Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations

This report discusses the use of prison bed occupancy guarantee clauses in prison privatization contracts and explores how bed occupancy guarantees undermine criminal justice policy and democratic, accountable government. The report sheds light on the for-profit private prison industry’s reliance on high prison populations, and how these occupancy guarantee provisions directly benefit its bottom line. Also discussed are the prevalence of bed guarantee clauses, drawing on set of contracts that ITPI obtained through state open records requests. We also address how occupancy guarantees have harmed states, focusing on the experiences of Arizona, Colorado, and Ohio — three states that have agreed to these provisions to detrimental consequences. Lastly, the report discusses our recommendation that governments can and should reject prison occupancy guarantees.

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FACT SHEET: The Impact of Outsourcing on the Middle Class and Communities of Color

Recent research shows that outsourcing public services to private companies and Wall Street banks increases income inequality and adversely impacts communities of color. This fact sheet explains how outsourcing degrad