Municipalities often own and operate businesses in direct competition with the private sector. This is unfair, ineffecient, and undermines our free enterprise system.
Government should not own or operate businesses that compete with the private market. This pits entreprenuers against the resources of taxpayers. Government can offset the costs of these enterprises by absorbing staff and other overhead costs in the general city budget. This leads to inefficient pricing and places the preferences and whims of elected officials ahead of market forces as a guide for what should be economic decisions.
In some cases, city-owned enterprises operate at a loss or at break-even levels, and other times cities use enterprise revenue to subsidize a higher level of government spending that would not otherwise be sustainable through tax revenue alone.
We found cities in Utah to own or operate a number of enterprises across a variety of categories including electric utilities, garbage service, golf courses, waterparks, theaters, fitness centers and more. In many of these cases there are private firms ready and able to contract with the city for certain services and market forces that would be more appropriate in independently providing other services.
We scored each city based on how many categories in which it operates an enterprise out of a possible of thirteen total categories. The totals were normalized using statistical z-scores.
To see a specific city's laws for this metric, click on its name in the right column, then find the = City-owned Enterprises ?> row in the table below the Free Enterprise category.