Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, whose family owns the Pilot Flying J chain of truck stops, has refused to release his tax returns since running and being elected in 2010. It wouldn’t matter so much if Haslam were your run-of-the-mill governor. But he’s the country’s richest politician, with a net worth of $2 billion.
Did you know that one speeding ticket in Kansas could land you in jail? That’s what happened to David Jackson in 2011 after he couldn’t afford a $100 fine for speeding. Collection had been outsourced to a private contractor, and his bill quickly ballooned to $2,200 with court costs, jail fines and the contractor’s extra fees.
Last Wednesday was a big day for In the Public Interest. We released one of our longest and most wide-ranging reports, How Privatization Is Increasing Inequality. The report describes how the privatization of public goods and services disproportionately impacts poor individuals and families, and people of color.
Two weeks ago, D.C.’s transit agency began taking bids from private companies to operate its parking facilities. In exchange for a big up-front payment, the winning company would collect fees from people parked at train stations for the next 50 years. Privatization would be foolish for a number of reasons.
In April, when Iowa governor Terry Branstad handed over the state’s Medicaid program to private insurance companies, many questioned his motives. Recent large-scale transitions to privatized Medicaid in states like Florida and Kansas haven’t fared well.