From liquor sales to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, from schools to corrections, there's not much that Tom Corbett doesn't believe could be better handled by private enterprise than state government.
This month, the Governor turns his attention to the Pennsylvania Lottery, which provides the state with about $1 billion a year in profits that the state uses to support programs for the elderly. It is a successful arrangement.
Those profits represented slightly less than 30 percent of sales last year, a net-to-gross ratio that would please most private businesses.
However, the allure of privatization is strong with this chief executive, and he has a proposed contract from a British company, Camelot Global Services, which runs the British Lottery. Camelot proposes to provide the state with $34 billion in profits over the next 20 years, or about the same rate as the state Department of Revenue is doing now.
Democrats in Harrisburg are wary. Camelot is the only bidder (two others dropped out), and the copy of the proposal they're entitled to inspect has been redacted. That is, portions of the proposal have been blacked out.
The governor has indicated he would like to see the lottery expanded to make the high-odds gaming even more enticing through the addition of on-line betting and a keno game.
The bottom line in any privatization proposal should be a positive answer to the following question: Will this be any better than what we have now?
We believe that switching from a long-running, successful system to a privatized operation based across the Atlantic is a gamble in itself, and not only Democrats, but the public should be entitled to all of the facts before the administration signs a contract by the end of the year.