MORE ARTICLES

Stay Connected!

Receive the latest updates in your inbox.

LATEST ARTICLES

The Cost of Inaction: Does Massachusetts Need Public Construction Reform?

Author: Douglas D. Gransberg, University of Oklahoma As debate continues over reform of public construction in Massachusetts, Douglas Gransberg, associate professor of construction science at the University of Oklahoma, offers two significant contributions: First, he has employed a vast collection of data to measure the efficiency of the Design- Bid-Build process currently in use in the Commonwealth. And, in so doing, he has neatly separated the issue of efficiency from the fear of corruption that in the 1970s spawned the Ward Commission and continues to inspire opposition to reform. The truth of the matter is that the two issues—corruption and reform—can and should be debated separately. There is no evidence correlating the use of alternative procurement methods with an anomalous […]

Competition in Education: A 1999 Update of School Choice in Massachusetts

Author: Susan L. Aud George Mason University White Paper No. 6 • September 1999 In March 1991 Massachusetts passed an interdistrict choice law that gave parents the option of enrolling their child in any district they selected, provided that district had voted to receive students under the program. The tuition for that child would be deducted from the sending district’s state aid and added to the receiving district’s state aid. In 1997, David Armor and Brett Peiser conducted a study to examine the social, racial, and financial impact of the interdistrict choice program on participating districts and, secondly, to determine if the thesis behind the market competition model of education was being borne out in Massachusetts. Specifically, the Armor/Peiser study […]

Nonprofit to For-Profit Conversions in Health Care

Privatization is a term that has triggered passionate debate in recent years. Here in Massachusetts, a law to stop it has been enacted. What we are really debating, however, is not true privatization at all. Privatization implies a complete withdrawl of government from provision and finacncing of a formerly public service, usually through the sale of government owned assets. Rather the debate has been about “private contracting,” whether government should contract with private vendors for provision of services instead of providing services directly. Opponents of private contracting fear that any savings will come largly from lower wages and reduced fringe benefits. Others are concerned that, while private contracting may be beneficial for services such as snow removal or highway maintenance, […]

Public Profits from Private Contracts: A Case Study in Human Services

Privatization is a term that has triggered passionate debate in recent years. Here in Massachusetts, a law to stop it has been enacted. What we are really debating, however, is not true privatization at all. Privatization implies a complete withdrawl of government from provision and finacncing of a formerly public service, usually through the sale of government owned assets. Rather the debate has been about “private contracting,” whether government should contract with private vendors for provision of services instead of providing services directly. Opponents of private contracting fear that any savings will come largly from lower wages and reduced fringe benefits. Others are concerned that, while private contracting may be beneficial for services such as snow removal or highway maintenance, […]

Missing the Bus: The Fight to Contract Competitively for MBTA Bus Service

Public transit agencies across the nation are struggling to control costs without reducing service. One effective strategy used by a growing number of public transit agencies is to contract competitively for bus operations. Almost without exception, these agencies report that private bus companies can deliver equal or better service at a 20 to 30 percent lower cost. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) wants to use the same strategy and has accepted two bids to run 40 percent of its bus operations. The MBTA’s cost analysis shows that it will save 23.1 million over five years. However, a 1993 antiprivatization law (commonly called the Pacheco Law) sets up a series of tests that an agency must pass before it can […]