When In The Public Interest introduced the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda, we knew we had serious work ahead of us to change the debate about privatization. The repercussions of the 2008 Financial Crisis and Great Recession were still being felt in statehouses across the country and elected officials were looking for quick fixes to fill large budget gaps.
By the end of 2014, 19 states moved to reverse course on privatizing government functions, signifying a momentous shift in the way we think about what it means to control our own public services and assets. But that was just the start. This year elected officials from ten states introduced one or more measures concerning responsible contracting. Check out the chart below to learn more about the legislation that has already passed or could pass soon:
|State||Bill #||Status||Scope of Bill|
|LA||HB137||Passed||Increased transparency, strengthened oversight, mandatory analysis of direct and indirect costs|
|MD||HB 158/SB 243||Passed||Increased transparency, strengthened oversight, articulated competition standards|
|TX||SB 20||Passed||Increased transparency, limits on no-bid contracts, conflict of interest provision, designs system for measuring contractor performance|
|MI||HB 4702, 4703, 4704 and 4705||Session still in progress||Community impact assessment, strengthened oversight, increased accountability, cost-benefit analysis and model employer guarantees|
|CA||SB 376||Session still in progress||Shared prosperity provisions, wage and benefit protections for employees contracted by the UC System|
|WA||HB 1915||Special session in progress||Community impact assessment, standardized contracting process, strengthened oversight and increased accountability|
|OR||HB 3321 and 3322||Session still in progress||Increased transparency (both for contractor records and meetings), strengthened oversight, cost savings requirement, and community impact assessments|
Obviously, this isn’t a partisan issue. Legislators in deep red Louisiana and Texas voted to hold contractors more accountable, much like legislators in a blue state like Maryland. Taxpayers and elected officials across the country and the ideological spectrum are standing up for the public services we depend on and fighting to ensure we maintain control of our services and assets. While the details of each bill are different, every piece of legislation is intended to improve transparency, increase accountability, or ensure privatization proposals are carefully studied to analyze potential impacts on the workforce and communities.
As elements of the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda are adopted by states and cities across the country, In The Public Interest will continue our efforts to support campaigns and achieve significant victories in the fight for more responsible contracting processes. Thank you for your continued support as we work for democracy, shared prosperity, and the common good.