TRENTON – Governor Chris Christie released the report of the New Jersey Privatization Task Force, which identifies more than $200 million in potential cost savings from privatizing various state agencies.
“In March, I asked the Privatization Task Force to develop a strategy that would reduce the size, scope and cost of state government,” said Christie.
“What they have provided is a path for change that will benefit New Jersey’s taxpayers through improvements in the quality of public service programs and services delivered to our citizens without placing further burdens upon the state budget. I look forward to further reviewing these recommendations.”
Gathering input from an array of privatization experts, stakeholders and the general public, the five-member Task Force held public hearings in Trenton, Summit and Voorhees to help formulate their recommendations for a comprehensive approach to streamlining certain areas of government operations.
According to the Task Force report, to establish privatization as an effective policy, an appropriate management structure should be in place, suitable policies should be adopted and best practices should be followed.
Among the Department-specific recommendations made by the Task Force:
- Within the Dept. of Community Affairs, the privatization of Housing & Uniform Construction Code enforcement
- Within the Dept. of Corrections, exploring opportunities to privatize inmate medical health services and correctional facilities’ food services
- Within the Dept. of Environmental Protection, entering into long-term concession agreements for the operation and management of all state parks
- Within the Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development, the outsourcing of boiler and pressure vessel inspections
- Within the Motor Vehicle Commission, the full decentralization of passenger vehicle inspections
- At the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the outsourcing of manual toll collection
- Within the Dept. of Transportation, the use of long-term, performance-based highway maintenance contracts
- Within the Dept. of the Treasury, the outsourcing of worker’s compensation claims processing and all pension, payroll and benefit payment systems
“Our Task Force learned that major privatization initiatives succeed only when they are undertaken by a leader with the political will to overcome bureaucratic inertia and confront entrenched interests,” said Congressman Dick Zimmer, who chaired the Task Force. “We are confident that Governor Christie has the requisite political will to deliver the benefits of privatization to the taxpayers of New Jersey.”
Democrats criticized Christie’s efforts to privatize government services, saying that the move would drive up costs for New Jersey residents.
“It’s becoming clear this governor hasn’t met a fee hike on average New Jerseyans that he couldn’t embrace, and fee is just another three-letter word for tax,” said Assembly Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden.)
“It was bad enough Gov. Christie’s budget included more than $1 billion in tax increases on average New Jerseyans,” said Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex). “Now he wants to sting residents with even more fees for services such as car inspections. Where does it stop?”
Task Force members included former Congressman Dick Zimmer, Chair, as well as Todd Caliguire, President, ANW/Crestwood, Inc.; Kathleen Davis, Executive VP & COO, Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey; John Galandak, President, Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey and Dr. P. Kelly Hatfield.