Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration on Friday highlighted steps they have taken to streamline government and make the case that new investments will drive down costs even more in coming years.
Dayton chief of staff Tina Smith and two commissioners outlined a host of initiatives that have saved tens of millions of dollars. While the savings are modest so far, Smith and others said the improvements show the administration’s work to make government more efficient and affordable is working.
The goals continues to be, Smith said: “How can we make sure we are getting the best value for the tax dollars that we are spending? How can we improve services for people and businesses?”
Dayton’s team picked up an initiative started by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration, a so-called lean initiative that empowers workers to find ways to work more efficiently. The state estimates the program has saved about $12 million over the last two years.
The state saved $19 million my centralizing its piecemeal, agency-by-agency approach to technology, using its consolidated purchasing power to bargain for a better deal.
Finding efficiencies in government has been an area where Dayton and Republicans have found agreement. Republicans offered several initiatives in past years to streamline government, particularly in the area of technology.
Dayton’s new budget proposal would make investments in many departments to yield larger savings, including the departments of human services, natural resources and education.
For consumers, the changes have resulted in faster permitting times and faster appeals by residents seeking greater state services.
New-found efficiencies at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs allowed workers to lower the bedsore rate to 4.5 percent, less than half what it was at its peak.
These efficiencies are not "going to change overnight, but you can really feel the momentum shifting,” said Department of Administration Commissioner Spencer Cronk.