Duquesne Law Review


Shirley L. Mays


Our cities are experiencing severe financial and sociological difficulties. Last year, more cities than ever finished the year with deficits. Tax bases are eroding as both private individuals and businesses flee cities to the comforting arms of suburbs and foreign markets. Those residents remaining within the cities' boundaries are loathe to pass tax increases to pay for the increased costs of providing social services to an urban population that is becoming more and more needy. As cities become increasingly desperate to tap new revenue sources in order to squeeze more out of already flattened budgets, and seek to revitalize community pride, many administrations are beginning to seek the privatization of "public services" as an alternative to ruin. However, private parties are not the appropriate entities to provide certain public services. Governments cannot turn over the operation of essential governmental services to private companies without abusing the trust of their citizens and circumventing the Constitution. Therefore, privatization is not the panacea that many governments believe.

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