Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another failure of the Yellow Pages test 

Phil Miller notices that his city of Mankato has a newspaper with strange notions of public goods:
Here's a common refrain in our local newspaper. Step 1: public supposedly wants good. Step 2: the private sector won't provide it. Step 3 ???? Step 4: get the taxpayer to provide it.
The object of the Mankato newspaper's desire is a water park.
They are also expensive. The private sector can, in some cases, justify building a water park � particularly as part of a hotel project. But there are few cases where a large publicly available water park can be built and operated as a profitable private venture.
Mankato editorialist, meet Summerland. Right here in lil' ol' St. Cloud. Not a hotel in sight out there on the outskirts of town. Now certainly some towns will build water parks because they have lots of tax base (take Becker, for example) but in general, remember Steven Goldsmith's Yellow Pages test: If you can find a service provided privately in the Yellow Pages, you don't need government to provide it.

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