Monday, January 18, 2010

House Bill 2310

Over the past few months I have enjoyed working to put in place the legislative framework for this year's House Modernization agenda. This has included sourcing the number of ideas generated over past months, determining the political feasibility of winning legislative approval, constructing a legislative framework to serve as implementation vehicles, and working with other Representatives to incorporate their ideas.

This process has produced one of the Modernization initiatives which I will be sponsoring this year: House Bill 2310. HB2310 contains an aggressive effort to target some of the most obvious waste in state government. The bill will be designed to remedy findings from a recent study of the state's financial processing systems. The study was commissioned by the Office of State Finance. A review was conducted of the state financial services systems and was overseen by a globally recognized consulting group known as the Hackett Corporation. This study indicated that up to 65 million could be saved each year through the implementation of a more efficient state government financials system.

The Hackett study documents that Oklahoma's accounts payable system is incurring high transaction costs and experiencing low productivity because of the under-utilization of technology. For example, Oklahoma spends $20.05 for each invoice in the state's accounts payable system. This compares to peer groups (organizations of like complexity to Oklahoma state government) which spend $3.58 per account payable. In other words, it takes state government six times more resources for each process than similarly sized organizations.

This inefficiency is due in part to the caseload handled by each employee. In Oklahoma state government, each accounts payable full time employee (FTE) handles 2,039 invoices. In the peer groups, each FTE processes 15,693 invoices. Likewise, there are similar inefficiencies in the state's billing system. The state spends $4.63 for each transaction, while peer groups spend $1.07. Each state FTE handles 15,212 bills compared to 70,570 handled by peer groups.

I believe that in addition to the failure to leverage technology to handle this work load, these inefficiencies can also be attributed to the disparate nature of the state's bureaucratic multi-agency system. By creating so many different individually organized divisions within state government, policy leaders have created a terribly ineffective organization.

House Bill 2310 is designed to cut through these barriers and put in place a timetable by which state officials will use technology to remedy some of these inefficiencies.

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