|Senator Jack Donahue Newsletter - STREAMLINING|
|Tuesday, September 01 2009 - 12:01 pm|
As many of you know, I am Chairman of the new Streamlining Commission to make government more responsive, less expensive and, yes, even smaller. I started working on legislation addressing the bloated size of the government several months before the last session started.
My inquiries took me to previously produced reports. It is no secret that government has tried to right-size or change itself in the past. The “SECURE” report was well done and recommended a lot of changes, many of which were actually enacted. The “Cut the Fat” report was also well done, and many items which had been recommended were enacted for the benefit of the state.
A good question is, “If these two reports were well done and even partially enacted, why do we continue to have financial problems such as the type that we are experiencing in our state today?” I believe the answer to that question is that when dollars are available to spend, the legislature spends those dollars, and when revenues drop, we lose the ability to afford those excesses funded in past years. Our spending problem is further compounded by the fact that there is no overlying vision for this state tied to long term goals and objectives. Hence, when spending, we do so without clear overall objectives, and when cutting, we do so “across the board” with little to no thought given to the state’s priorities.
When the Governor’s Office called and asked if I would like to work on legislation to streamline government, I was very pleased to say yes, and the results were SB261, ACT 491 of the 2009 Regular Session. This legislation authorizes a 10-member commission to investigate all areas of government and recommend changes to the legislature. Higher Education is excluded from this commission and is being handled separately. The Streamlining Commission has broken into five “Advisory Groups”— I like to call them Tiger Teams— and each is empowered to study certain aspects of our state government. The areas are:
I am meeting several times a week in Baton Rouge and am impressed with the group we have assembled to complete the Streamlining task. The preliminary report is due on December 15, 2009, so there is not much time.
I will keep you updated as to our progress.
Thank you for your encouraging words, letters and emails – it really makes a difference.