Privatization panel holds first public hearing

The five-member privatization task force appointed by Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) held the first of three public hearings on the issue Wednesday at the Statehouse.

The group, headed by former U.S. Rep. Dick Zimmer, is expected to report back to the governor by May 31. The panel will identify which state programs and services should be privatized.

Christie's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year assumes $50 million in savings from the privatization of certain, unspecified services and some layoffs of state employees.

Critics of the plan say using private companies in the past for services, like motor vehicle inspections or the construction of a resort at the Meadowlands, has failed.

A second public hearing will be held April 14, and the third April 21.

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