Mitch Daniels' "Yellow Pages Test"

The Stossel solution

One of his guests was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Forget for a moment that Daniels is a Republican. Focus on his accomplishments. "You were $78 million in debt," Stossel said during the program. "Now you have a $1.5 billion surplus." In a controversial decision, Indiana leaders leased a 157-mile toll road to foreign investors. "In exchange," writes Ryan Holeywell of Governing.com, "for a $3.8 billion, lump-sum payment, the investors would get to keep toll road revenue for 75 years ... a windfall for Indiana, with little downside to taxpayers." Next year, Daniels announced recently, his state's surplus will be at least $2 billion. Taxpayers can expect a credit on their 2013 taxes.

Daniels said he invokes what he calls "the Yellow Pages test. If it's in there, then conceivably government shouldn't be doing it itself."

And the result? "The result," said Daniels, "is we're repairing bridges, building roads. We're the only state with a building boom in infrastructure and it didn't cost the taxpayers a nickel."

Re-read that last sentence and then ask yourself why the federal government still sees itself as the primary builder of roads and bridges when it costs more and delivers less. This is a real solution to a nagging problem. Why isn't it more widely embraced? Refer to Stossel's previous answer about government: "They want their tentacles on everything." They're about power. The rest of the country wants results, which they must have in order for their businesses to survive and prosper.
Comment: Good artricle ... goes on to mention Amtrak (which should be shuttered!).

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing excerpt. The real question is could this work on a national level, and how could we test it without full blown implementation. It is interesting to see some states having so much success, and it would be encouraging to see many other states follow suit.


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