LANSING-The “Public Services Accountability Act” (House Bill 6088) a bill recently introduced in the state Legislature, aims to “create and establish standards of accountability and reliability” for when the government contracts out for the performance of its services.
What it may actually do is make much of the savings that would otherwise be realized by privatization practically impossible.
The bill sets up a requirement that savings of 10 percent be guaranteed in any deal in which government services were to be performed by a private contractor. Then it mandates that companies hired by the government hire workers at rates comparable to government rates. The companies bidding for the privatized services must also operate under the same rules of financial disclosure as government entities, a further cost that cuts down on profitability.
If a company can jump through these hoops and win the bidding process, it still must not try to discourage workers from unionization. It must get the state’s permission to subcontract, its books must be open for state agencies to check, and mandatory annual audits would be public information.
After all that, what company would want to take on a government contract? If the measure passes, it will be interesting to see whether there are any takers. To track the progress of this bill, visit www.michiganvotes.org.