Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Goldsmithâ??s latest venture

June 4, 2009
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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