Goldsmithâ??s latest venture

June 4, 2009
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Former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith, never one to let grass grow under his feet, has started a not-for-profit with one-time presidential candidate Howard Dean to promote Goldsmithâ??s pet cause of public-private partnerships.

The Council of Project Finance Advisors aims to help various levels of government sort through decisions in sectors ranging from finance to real estate. Standardizing bid practices, contracts and other documentation will help create a level playing field between public and private sectors and ultimately drive down costs and improve the quality of service, goes the thinking.

Helping officials winnow through the mind-boggling details is especially critical at a time when tax dollars are scarce and demands to upgrade roads and other infrastructure is critical, Goldsmith and Dean said in a release this week.

The creation of the council is interesting on a couple of levels. For one, Goldsmith is a Republican and Dean, a former governor of Vermont, a Democrat. Both have deep independent, libertarian streaks, though.

Their project also comes at a time when esteem for government and the private sector have flipped. Conventional wisdom has it that the Reaganesque primacy of markets and competition went out the door with the election of Barack Obama. Now, government is better at solving problems.

Goldsmith in affect is warning not to toss the baby with the bathwater. The crushing need to improve and replace infrastructure requires even greater wisdom in governmentsâ?? getting the most benefit for the tax dollar.

What do you think about the idea? Does anyone want to hear about public-private partnerships?

And how do you feel about Goldsmithâ??s legacy in Indianapolis? To what extent did his putting public contracts out to competition between public and private sectors help the city?
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  • The thing that sticks out to me about Goldsmith's time as mayor was the constant avoidance of problems that needed to be addressed, leaving them to successors to fix (e.g. combined-sewer overflows, police pensions, etc.)
  • The thing that is laughable is the government is better at solving problems nonsense. Please name one thing that the government has ever gotten involved in that has not turned in to a bloated, unsupervised, uncontrollable catastrophe (eg. health care, TARP). This is nothing more than big government again usurping the rights of its' citizens, and doing it poorly. What has happened to us?
  • Jim:

    The space program, Medicare, the Veteran's Health Administration, the Small Business Administration. . . are you amnesic?
  • the obama administration - but only because it was already a bloated, unsupervised, uncontrollable catastrophe before it became the government...
  • John:

    Medicare? Except for the fact that it is in severe financial trouble. SBA does little good for the ability it has. Not to mention if you are not a minority you probably might as well not apply. VA, it would be better as more of a public-private. Space program, I'll give you that.

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