MIDLAND — The Mackinac
Center for Public Policy today praised Michigan’s Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) for contracting out management of the Porcupine Mountains
Downhill Ski Area, also known as "the Porkies." The Mackinac Center has been
recommending full privatization for the state-owned ski area since 2001.
have taken the pork out of the Porkies," said Michael LaFaive, director of
fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center. According to LaFaive, "All indications
are that state officials executed a textbook outsourcing play. They made their
intentions known publicly, solicited vendor interest, fielded testimony from
concerned parties, and negotiated a well-written agreement. All of these are
key components of successful privatizations."
The deal means state
taxpayers won’t be on the hook for losses derived from operation of the
state-owned ski hill, as they have been since the 1950s. In 2001 and 2002 the
Porkies lost more than $173,000 and $57,000, respectively. Any losses during
the 2004 ski year will be the responsibility of Porcupine Mountain, L.L.C., the
resort’s new private, for-profit vendor.
"Running a ski
resort can hardly be classified as a legitimate government function," said
LaFaive. "Next, the DNR should look into selling the Porkies to the highest
Just weeks into
the new concession contract, Porcupine Mountain, L.L.C. has increased marketing
of the Porkies and held a one-day season pass sale, in which passes were offered
for $99, a 60 percent drop in price. The change led to an approximate
12-fold increase in the number of season passes sold. In addition, the daily
rate charged to skiers remained unchanged from last year’s, at $28.
managed Porcupine Mountains Downhill Ski Area is scheduled to open Dec. 19.
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