As the next legislative session approaches, Florida lawmakers face an uphill battle in funding critical government services while trying to sustain the state’s economic success.
Recent forecasts paint a gloomy picture, with less money available to meet the state’s critical needs. Additionally, the predicted $1 billion-plus shortfalls in future years loom large. This makes it even more important for the Legislature to implement cost savings and government efficiencies.
Luckily, there exists a simple solution.
Adopted by the voters of the Sunshine State in 2006, the state’s constitution requires a Government Efficiency Task Force (GETF) to meet every four years, first meeting in 2007. I am honored to have been a member of the task force, which consists of some of our state’s leading business and political leaders. These leaders truly understand that they are there to represent you and introduce fresh ideas to ensure every taxpayer dollar is well spent, not wasted.
The Task Force released a report earlier this year detailing 29 recommendations that would improve government operations while saving hard-working Florida taxpayers’ money –15 of which would come at no additional cost to the state. The potential cost-savings the state could realize if these recommendations were implemented could exceed $2 billion annually.
The highlights of the recommendations include enacting an annual Florida Government Efficiency Act, conducting an operational review of the Florida Department of Corrections, smarter sentencing for low-level nonviolent offenders and removing barriers to the use of telehealth strategies.
Florida TaxWatch has served as the watchdog for state taxpayers for more than 35 years and the improvement of government processes has been a key tenet of Florida TaxWatch since its inception. No matter where you stand politically, everyone agrees that taxpayers deserve a government that works effectively and efficiently.
The savings realized by implementing these recommendations could be reinvested in our children’s education, reforming our justice system, improving health care outcomes for those in need, economic development and a myriad of other crucial policy issues that need attention.
We hear a lot about how policymakers want to improve the functions of government. If they want to get serious about this, the GETF recommendations are a great place to start to accomplish this challenging, yet obtainable, goal.
Dominic M. Calabro is the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. This op-ed was featured in the Tallahassee Democrat.