Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

NJ Privatization Task Force Report Offers Reform Roadmap, Over $210 Million in Annual Savings

Leonard Gilroy
July 9, 2010, 11:06am

Taxpayers in the Garden State have reason to cheer today. As the Star-Ledger reports, the New Jersey Privatization Task Force‚??established by Gov. Chris Christie under Executive Order #17 in mid-March‚??released its final report this morning, identifying a comprehensive set of privatization tools and strategies that could save the state over $210 million annually if fully implemented. But that's just the beginning of what's in this valuable report.

Having served as an advisor to the Task Force since its formation, I can attest that this work was no small task. In just under three months, the Task Force diligently conducted an agency-wide, in-depth review to identify realistic, pragmatic and actionable privatization opportunities across state government.

At the same time, they also focused beyond the what to the how, outlining a solid set of recommended best practices and institutionalization strategies designed to create a solid and sustainable privatization process‚??in short, a process designed to help the state do privatization well and avoid some of the pitfalls that befell botched privatization initiatives in previous administrations. Chairman and former Congressman Dick Zimmer and his Task Force colleagues (and staff) did yeoman's work in producing a rich and substantive report that should be required reading for state executive and legislative offices nationwide.

Readers would be well advised to read the full report from beginning to end. Among the higher-level highlights:

The 40 individual privatization recommendations in the report ranged from broad to narrow, but some of the major highlights include:

But these examples just scratch the surface. Beyond those discussed above, additional privatization opportunities identified by the Task Force include:

Of course, the recommendations in the Task Force report are not self-implementing. Like any advisory commission report, the challenge will be to ensure that ideas move forward from concept to implementation. The Christie administration will certainly have their work cut out for them in that regard.

However, the Task Force has offered the administration a solid template to start with and sound processes to put in place to smooth the journey ahead. The combination of this commendable new privatization roadmap with a reform-minded administration‚??and Gov. Christie's clear willingness to challenge the status quo‚??bodes well for the transformational change needed in New Jersey state government to restore the state's fiscal health and deliver better value for Garden State taxpayers.

Leonard Gilroy is Senior Managing Director, Pension Integrity Project &
Director of Government Reform

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