Gov. Gregoire Announces New Strategies To Reform State Governmen - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gov. Gregoire Announces New Strategies To Reform State Government

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire has outlined a series of reform measures she will present to the Legislature to help fill a $2 billion budget deficit.

"We've confronted the world financial crisis and used it to make state government better, faster and cheaper," Gregoire said. "Over the past three years, we've consolidated state agencies, we've eliminated state employee positions and we've made more than $10 billion in reductions to current and projected state spending. We've seen incredible success with the reforms put in place the last couple of years, but on-going reforms are necessary.

It's been made clear – state government can't do it all. We can't afford to. Today I'm proposing additional reform proposals to build on what we've already accomplished, and continue to reduce state costs to ensure a sustainable trajectory moving forward."

To generate more revenue for education, Gregoire is asking the Legislature to allow the private sector to show whether it can operate the state lottery system at a lower cost. Any savings achieved would go into the Washington Opportunity Pathway account – which supports higher education and early learning programs.

"I want to see if the state lottery can be managed for less money through the private sector," Gregoire said. "If it works, it could provide more funds to support critical education programs."

Gregoire also announced she will introduce legislation to eliminate the 3-person Liquor Control Board and replace it with a director who will be responsible for licensing and enforcement functions.

"The director and staff will continue to ensure safety through responsible licensing, and maintain our commitment to keeping our young people away from alcohol and tobacco," Gregoire said. "But we don't need a paid board for a system that will be mostly in private hands. If a board is needed it should voluntary – like the Gambling and Lottery commissions."

The Department of Enterprise Services will also look for ways the private sector might manage services at a reduced price, Gregoire said. DES will issue requests for proposals to see if the private sector can more cost effectively manage bulk printing, Web access,  and mail outside of Thurston County.

Additionally, Gregoire said she's issuing an executive order to expand Lean process improvements, directing all state agencies to adopt Lean principles, concepts and tools. Crafted by Toyota, Lean techniques increase efficiency, decrease waste and use data to confirm results. Several state agencies have already worked in partnership with Boeing to implement Lean processes to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

"Lean is all about eliminating anything that doesn't serve the customer efficiently and effectively, and we are embracing it across state government," Gregoire said. "There is no question that Lean works. Boeing, which over the past year has donated two lean specialists to help us with Lean, told us this week they will add two more.

The Boeing team will help us for an additional six months -- free of charge. And Virginia Mason will train our workers at no cost. On top of that, Boeing – with assistance from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce – has enlisted support from two other companies, Children's Hospital and Group Health. I am incredibly thankful for the support from these companies."

The proposals announced today follow an earlier directive from the governor that incorporates cost-saving proposals submitted by state employees and the public. Directive 11-18 requires state agencies to find savings through smart use of cellular communications, state vehicles, home assignment and personnel procedures. Additional examples include:

  • Eliminating the mailing of renewal notices for a driver's license and vehicle licenses to save $1 million in the current biennium, and $5.3 million in future biennia;
  • Extending the schedule for replacing vehicle license plates from seven years to 10 to save $1 million in the current biennium, and $4 million in future biennia; and
  • Halting the printing of calendars for state agencies, saving $30,000 in printing costs annually.
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