Saving taxpayer dollars by cutting costs
Today I announced a plan to save taxpayers an estimated $450 million over the next five years.
During these challenging times, while New Mexicans are being forced to tighten their belts and do more with less, I believe government should do the same. I have said time and again that I do not support tax increases on hardworking middle-class families and we should not seek to balance the budget on their backs.
Therefore, as governor, I would propose the following cost-saving measures to reduce the size of government and save taxpayers money. Please note that these ideas are just the beginning of a concerted effort to make government more efficient and cost effective.
Reducing the size of government
First, in the area of reducing the size of government:
• I would cut 100 political appointees – bringing the number down to pre-2003 authorized levels. Savings would be $8.8 million a year.
• I would offer classified state employees a voluntary, one-time buyout on their contracts to reduce the state workforce. Savings would be anywhere between $24 million and $33 million a year.
Second, in the area of consolidating departments and finding efficiencies, including better use of technology in government:
• I would consolidate inspectors general throughout government into one, independent Office of Government Accountability, which would investigate and root out waste, inefficiency and fraud and abuse in government.
• I would seek to consolidate a number of departments across state government – Tourism, Cultural Affairs, State Parks and Economic Development – into a new Department of Commerce, as an example.
• I will reduce the state’s car fleet by 10 percent and adopt a zip care model to reduce wear-and-tear, using state cars for commuting and encourage ride-sharing.
• I will review boards and commissions with a goal of sun-setting or consolidating 100 in the next four years.
• I will increase the use of the state’s Web conferencing ability to reduce travel time and expenses such as fuel and per-diem. This is estimated to save about $3.5 million a year.
• Give state employees who do not smoke and who control their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure a break in prices on what they pay for health insurance. Just like rewarding good drivers with lower car insurance premiums makes sense, so does rewarding employees who keep themselves healthy.
More than 50 corporations across the country, including Lovelace Health System in New Mexico, are using this model to provide employees incentives to stay well and stabilize health costs. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 75 percent of health-care dollars are spent treating conditions that are lifestyle related and largely preventable. Wellness efforts have been proven to reduce annual medical costs significantly and make our workforce more productive.
By implementing an incentive-based wellness system similar to the model being used by the private sector, it has been estimated that New Mexico could save $58 million over the next five years and still maintain the same level of benefits for employees.
More responsive and accountable
Finally, I will seek to make government more responsive to the public and accountable to the taxpayers. This means:
• A thorough review of all the tax credits our state offers to make sure tax credits are actually being used to create jobs.
• Worker’s comp reform to make sure rates are fair to employers and fraud and abuse are more aggressively investigated.
•A new commitment to customer service in government – expanding the hours some agencies are open and a customer-care refresher training for everyone in government.
• And an expansion of the Sunshine Portal to include a “See-Click-Fix” function to allow regular citizens to get online and alert us of problems in their areas.
Just a few of the ideas
These are just a few of the ideas to save money by reforming government. Throughout the campaign, I will seek to highlight these and other ideas – including comprehensive capital outlay reform – to ensure state dollars are spent wisely.
I’m going to be a different kind of governor and bring about a new way of doing business. That means cost-saving reforms to save the taxpayers an estimated $450 million, instead of millions in new taxes on middle-class New Mexicans.
9 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.
Leave a response
You must be logged in to post a comment.