Anti-waste panel oulines proposals
August 21, 2008
A panel formed by Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons to reduce government waste has come up with a tentative list of suggestions, including some consolidation of state agency duties and closure of a Washington, D.C., lobbying office.
Also among the 23 proposals from the Spending and Government Efficiency, or SAGE, Commission, are plans to inventory state equipment and sell what’s not needed; and contract with rental car agencies in urban areas to eliminate the need for some state motor-pool vehicles.
The consolidation plans include one to create a new Department of Revenue that would take over tax-collecting responsibilities now handled by agencies such as the Taxation Department and Department of Motor Vehicles.
Frank Partlow, the commission’s executive director, said Thursday the 23 proposals were among 50 that had been under consideration. He said decisions are expected at a Sept. 25 meeting on whether to include the 23 proposals in a report due Sept. 30 at the governor’s office.
Gibbons spokesman Ben Kieckhefer said the list already is being reviewed by the governor’s legal counsel to determine whether Gibbons could make the changes on his own or would have to get approval from state legislators.
The goal of the SAGE Commission, headed by Bruce James, is to come up with moneysaving ideas that will work rather than wind up in a long report “that sits on a shelf and collects dust,” Gibbons has said.
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The state commission was modeled after former President Reagan’s Grace Commission that in 1984 produced nearly 2,500 ideas for cutting government waste – but saw disappointing results.
The Grace Commission, headed by prominent businessman J. Peter Grace Jr., spent two years on producing its 2,478 recommendations in its “war on waste.” But a Congressional Research Service study described the report as “disappointing to its promoters.”
The General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, warned that some of the commission’s proposals could be challenged in the courts if implemented in the private sector. The GAO also said the commission overstated savings in some cases.
The commission’s goal was $1.9 trillion in savings by 2000. That never occurred, although supporters of the effort have said it helped save taxpayers $687 billion over the years.