Friday, November 6, 2009

The Issue of Double Dipping and Other Reforms

Double Dipping became a major issue for saving money in this state as the national unemployment rate hits 10.2%. A program created during the time when unemployment was low has now become a liability to state government.

Cost savings to the state government could be somewhere between 7 and up to 11 million dollars. This would be money saved that could protect healthcare programs and education in this state during hard economic times. This only takes into account savings from retirement payments and does not include lower paying salaries due to the fact that new employees would not require the same high wages as older employees.

This along with sin taxes could help to prevent job losses which could harm important government support systems which affect how our state’s future workforce develops. Without an educated healthy workforce state tax revenues could continue to decline in future years.

With so many people unemployed in this state how can state government continue to justify this program? Lt. Governor Diane Denish has said that she will support legislation in the January session of the legislature to put an end to this practice. She has also stated that she wants to look at how pork (Capital Outlay) money is handled so money is not just sitting around unused in accounts when other programs are facing layoffs and reductions in services to middle class and low income individuals.

Lt. Governor Diane Denish is also hoping to use technology to the state’s advantage to help reduce costs and help increase services to people in need in this state. She sees the need to provide government services in the most cost effective way during these difficult economic times. The Lt. Governor is showing common sense when it comes to her approach to providing a more cost effective and efficient state government.

This approach along with future ethics reform could save the state millions of dollars at a time when no state can afford a waste of capital funds. Taxpayers do not want to see their tax moneys wasted when they have had to tighten their own belts.

One can only hope that the presidents of colleges and universities around the state take note of the Lt. Governor’s approach and look at their own systems to find ways to cut cost without harming the classrooms or the employees who work directly with the students. The time for top heavy administration in any government run program has come to an end for the next few years.

Sports programs need to be reigned in so that a few individuals who have caused scandals don’t received outrages salaries while classroom instructors go without and students are piled into ever larger classes. These programs should be more about promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children, who will be this state’s future workforce, and less about providing glory for college and university presidents and their boards.