Regarding the Dec. 4 editorial, "New Jersey Lottery/No to Privatization":

The logic behind your assumption that privatization does not work because businesses must add a profit to their costs does not take into account the more important differences between private enterprise and public functions.

Businesses must provide the same or better products and services at lower costs than their competitors, or their market share will fall to competitors and they will ultimately fail. Business leaders spend enormous efforts to find ways to continuously operate more efficiently, motivate their employees, etc. They are only personally rewarded if the business they work for grows profitably.

The leaders of public functions are primarily motivated by different factors. They do not have competitors continually threatening their very existence.

They spend a lot of effort trying to convince the public to re-elect them in some cases. Many leaders of public functions get rewarded if their area of responsibility grows. This "growth" includes the amount of the annual budget they get to spend, the number of public employees working under them, etc. They are often more focused on expanding their operations than they are focused on becoming more efficient.

The attempt to reduce the costs of motor vehicle inspections by New Jersey failed to meet expectations probably as a result of a poorly constructed agreement between the state and Parsons Environment & Infrastructure Group. That debacle should not be held up as an argument for the wisdom of more government-run activities. Private enterprises are inherently more efficient than public ones, notwithstanding their need to generate profits. Privatization is in the public interest for many services if the arrangement is established correctly so the service objectives are achieved at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.

SAM BROWN

Middle Township