During the past few months it has been my responsibility to help develop the next series of Government Modernization legislation. As part of this process, I have met with a number of agency leaders to receive their input and have worked to ascertain best practices from the private industry and other government entities. The goal of these efforts has been to develop the proposals that will result in the quick elimination of waste and provide savings to Oklahoma taxpayers.
Over the next few weeks, I would like to use the forum provided by this column to role out these ideas and to receive your feedback. Some of the proposals may be rather aggressive and somewhat unorthodox in their approach to seeking savings. Your input will assist in continuing to develop the proposals to maturation.
As an example, one ideas I will write about and one of the key ingredients of the next round of Modernization legislation should be to promote efficiencies and savings through the promotion of shared services between state agencies. This will lead to the breaking down of bureaucratic barriers which unnecessarily waste so many taxpayer dollars each year.
Last year, House Bill 1032 made accessing services more convenient for those using state services either as individuals or as vendors and could lead to millions in savings. Now, this same focus should be provided to allow this same type of convenience to state agencies. By viewing state agencies as customers and allowing them to take advantage of shared services it will make it easier for agencies to deal with budget reductions by offering them more convenience and freeing them up to focus on their core mission.
Another idea I will write about and what I hope will be a key component of the Modernization legislation should be a very aggressive effort to allow state officials to incorporate best practices in utilizing new technological advancements. You have no doubt noticed how that over the past few years many of the items and services which previously cost a significant amount of money are now much more affordable. From long distance phone service to the cost of consumer electronics, the cost for using technology is much lower than it was just a few years ago. The same market forces which have made it much less expensive to use technology also enable government entities to provide a better, more efficient, less costly service to the taxpayers.
It is our moral imperative as Legislators to make sure government takes advantage of these more efficient processes and savings by educating ourselves on the new capabilities afforded by technology and by building a statutory system which allows for the use of these technologies as quickly as possible.
Over the next few weeks, I look forward to sharing some specific ideas with you and would appreciate your feedback.