Just How Bad Do Private Companies Want Our Public Water Utilities?
In case anyone was wondering just how skewed the battle is over water privatization, we just got an indication of just how sweet the victory in Trenton, New Jersey really was. It seems that the privatization proponent — The Committee for Trenton Yes—the front group set up by New Jersey American Water to finance the ‘yes’ vote—spent 30 times more money on their campaign than local opposition group Stop the Sale.
The Committee for Trenton Yes spent $1,047,467.00 on the campaign to privatize part of Trenton’s public water utility. Stop the Sale spent $32,000.84. In fact, thanks to their spending, Trenton ranked second only to Newark in municipal campaign spending in across the entire state in the first half of 2010.
A private company is not likely to support a $1 million campaign to acquire a portion of a public water utility unless it can make some serious money later–possibly through rate hikes. This should prove two things to the residents of New Jersey: 1) Their water system is an important resource to protect and maintain for public use. 2) Privatization plans give companies like New Jersey American Water the opportunity to make serious profits from steep rate hikes.
Instead of surrendering our public water utilities over to private interests, we need a plan that provides dedicated federal funding to improve water quality, protect the environment, create good jobs and ensure safe, reliable water for generations to come. Protect your water 30 times over.