The LWVUS Board approved a new position on Privatization at its June 2012 meeting. The position is based on responses received from the 227 Leagues across the country that participated in the Privatization Study. Thanks to the many local and state Leagues and ILOs that held meetings, involved their communities, and worked to reach consensus on this important issue. Committee Chair Janis McMillen (KS) and her Committee: Diane DiIanni (TN), Carole Garrison (VA), Ann Henkener (OH), Cathy Lazarus (CA), Nora Leech (WA), Muriel Strand (CA) and Ted Volskay (SC) are to be commended for their excellent work and leadership.
The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that when governmental entities consider the transfer of governmental services, assets and/or functions to the private sector, the community impact and goals of such transfers must be identified and considered. Further, the LWV believes that transparency, accountability, and preservation of the common good must be ensured.
The League believes that some government provided services could be delivered more efficiently by private entities; however, privatization is not appropriate in all circumstances. Privatization is not appropriate when the provision of services by the government is necessary to preserve the common good, to protect national or local security or to meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of society. While the League recognizes that the definition of core government services will vary by level of government and community values, services fundamental to the governance of a democratic society should not be privatized in their entirety. These services include the electoral process, justice system, military, public safety, public health, education, transportation, environmental protection and programs that protect and provide basic human needs.
The decision to privatize a public service should be made after an informed, transparent planning process and thorough analysis of the implications of privatizing service delivery. While specific criteria will vary by service and local conditions, the League believes the following considerations apply to most decisions to transfer public services, assets and functions to the private sector: