Budget Briefing: Government that Works – Innovation and Efficiency

February 09, 2016

Governor Wolf remains committed to improving efficiencies, streamlining government operations, and reducing costs. He continues to change the way business is conducted to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, redundancies are eliminated, and customer interactions at all levels are improved.

Just last week, Governor Wolf gave an update on these improvements, announcing produced savings for both the current and future state budgets. The Wolf Administration is on track to save $150 million in the current fiscal year. To date, GO-TIME has identified nearly 250 initiatives by state agencies to modernize government operations by increasing efficiency, improving technology, and identifying opportunities for agencies to collaborate and share resources. These initiatives will provide benefits including savings, reduced processing times, increased convenience, better customer service, and maximizing existing resources.

Last year, Governor Wolf’s administration implemented many reforms that generated substantial taxpayer savings and increased service effectiveness, including: eliminating the SNAP asset test, reducing the food stamp error rate, helping more TANF families find employment, lowering insurance rates by more than $80 million, and reducing the prison population the largest amount in 40 years.

The 2016-17 Budget will again focus on creating a government that works effectively through innovation and increased efficiencies to ensure that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent.

Reducing Redundancy and Improving Operations
This budget includes the merger of the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole and the relocation of the eHealth Partnership Authority to within the Department of Human Services. These steps continue the work Governor Wolf has taken throughout the course of the last year to ensure that the commonwealth truly is a government that works.

Ensuring Taxpayers are Only Paying for Success
The 2016-2017 budget increases the use of Pay for Success performance contracts, which provide an innovative strategy to finance proven programs through public-private partnerships on a straightforward proposition. The Wolf Administration will work with private sector partners to address the employment needs of individuals with criminal convictions to make them less likely to return to the corrections system and more likely to build a foundation for a stable, productive life. Additionally, the administration will engage youth advocate partners to provide intensive support to juvenile offenders and their families in their homes, schools, and communities to provide resources, skill development and educational and vocational work.

Taxpayers will only pay for services that get results and save money in the long run. Payments are tied to the achievement of specific, pre-established performance goals that are set forth in the contract, and only occur after rigorous evaluation.

Making Pensions Improvements Beyond Act 120
The 2016-17 year will mark the end of steep increases in state and local school district contributions to pay unfunded future pension obligations. State General Fund costs will increase by nearly $500 million before beginning to level off in future years. While the General Assembly debates further changes to benefit plans, several administrative and financial management initiatives can reduce future obligations, including

  • Consolidating investment management operations among the funds that manage short- and long-term investment assets
  • Reducing fees for investment management services
  • Establishing a restricted receipt account to ensure full funding of future pension obligations

Read more posts about Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget.

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