First proposals expected from panel trying to save taxpayers’ money | NevadaAppeal.com

First proposals expected from panel trying to save taxpayers’ money

By BRENDAN RILEY

Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY (AP) – The first of many votes this year on proposals to improve government efficiency are expected at a meeting Thursday of a special panel formed by Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn.

By the time it’s done, the Committee to Conduct a Fundamental Review of State Government hopes to have a plan that the 2001 Legislature can use to make some big changes – and not just suggestions for more cooperation between agencies.

At its meeting Thursday in Las Vegas, the panel will act on proposals to eliminate Nevada’s parole system and replace it with determinate prison sentencing; and to split the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety.

Other suggestions up for votes include:

-A proposal for consolidating major tax-collecting functions of Gaming Control, Motor Vehicles and Taxation agencies into a new state Department of Revenue.

-A move to ensure that no government agencies can upgrade costly computer systems without state Department of Information Technology oversight. Nevada’s university system and top state elective officials would be exempted.

-Consolidating all domestic violence programs into a single unit. That would include a transfer of the domestic violence grant program from the attorney general’s office to the new executive-branch unit.

-Going through all Nevada laws and regulations to find and get rid of antiquated or redundant provisions. That’s been tried before, but more problems surface as time goes by and lawmakers continue to tinker with statutes.

-Incorporating duties of the state Welfare Board, along with other, smaller advisory boards, into a new Human Resources Advisory Council.

-Eliminating federal regulatory activities of the state Labor Commission, Division of Industrial Relations, Equal Rights Commission, and Division of Environmental Protection.

Guinn’s motivation in appointing the committee was the scare he got in January 1999, when he took office, as fiscal analysts predicted a big budget shortfall. The economy improved and the shortfall dwindled, but Guinn still said the state should do whatever it could to trim costs.

The GOP governor has said the top-to-bottom review of state government could lead to the elimination of outdated programs, expansion of others and the privatization of some.

Denice Miller, Guinn’s senior policy advisor, and Don Hataway of the state Budget Office are the co-chairs of the 16-member panel. Others on the committee include representatives of private business, lawmakers and local and state government officials.