Friday, December 18, 2015

Governor Calls For Efficiency Review of Arkansas State Government

Dr. Bill Smith, ARRA News Service: Yesterday, I attended my traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas to attend attending a special reception and media event for the Arkansas Policy Foundation. APF is a cost-efficient nonpartisan, non-profit organization that analyzes the impact of public policy on Arkansas and makes recommendations. There findings are independent and are directed at promoting more efficient government at lower cost to the taxpayers. As an educational organization, it also regularly submits its research to scholarly journals that use a peer review process.

Yesterday, the Arkansas Policy Foundation celebrated 20 years of service to the public. In the past, the Foundation has emphasized the importance of tax policy and education reform:
Principles of tax policy: Arkansas would benefit from comprehensive, pro-growth reform; Arkansans are not under-taxed; taxes and rates do matter to entrepreneurs; dynamic scoring of tax changes and effects provides benefits. It also had conducted an efficiency review of Arkansas government in the mid-1990s that called for performance-based budgeting among other recommendations. Education reform: The Foundation seeks intellectual honesty and complete openness in reporting the lack of academic progress in Arkansas' school system. It had previously completed a n of state education which became known as the Murphy Commission which resulted in many changes especially in educational under Gov. Mike Huckabee's administration.Various speakers addressed the past success and influences of APF. Then, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Tim Giffin addressed the future potential impact that APF could have on more efficient government as a prelude to Gov. Asa Hutchinson arriving to share his decision and prior announcement at the State Capitol.

Gov. Hutchinson shared his prior announcement at the State Capitol with the other heads of the government present. Hutchinson had issued a memorandum ordering “mandatory compliance” by state agencies in an efficiency review to be conducted by Arkansas Policy Foundation.

Hutchinson said, "The policy foundation came to me and said they would like to engage in that. Of course, I remember the Murphy Commission that was so helpful a decade or so ago and we’re not finished yet. We need new ideas and we hope a private sector approach taking a look at it can generate those ideas."

Governor Hutchinson also identified, "I’ve specifically asked Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin to take one aspect of that, not the whole project but the Department of Human Services. To look at the organizational structure of DHS and it’s really a good time when we’re in transition with a new director coming in."

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin said, "I am honored to assist the governor in his review of the Department of Human Services so that we can all better serve the people of Arkansas and be better stewards of taxpayer dollars."

APF will not be tasked to "[R]eview of the IT structure or contracts. Those areas will be reviewed separately by the Governor’s Office and the legislature." Previously, both legislators and the governor have criticized a Medicaid enrollment and eligibility IT contract that more than doubled in cost from $108 million to $220 million.

Gov. Hutchinson has instructed all agency directors to cooperate with the foundation and has asked his deputy counsel, Andrew “Vu” Ritchie, to be a liaison between the foundation and the agencies.

At the end of the Hutchinson announcement at AFP, Greg Kaza, executive director, said that APF hopes to have its report completed by next fall. And ended the event with, "As volunteers ,we’re ready to go to work, and we will!"

Tags: ARRA News Service, Arkansas, Governor, Asa Hutchinson, Lt. Governor, Tim Griffin, Arkansas Policy Foundation, efficiency review, Arkansas State Government To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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