The watchdog group Florida TaxWatch believes the state could trim up to $1 billion in spending by modernizing its accounting system, improving its information technology processes and taking other steps to ease the cost of government on taxpayers.
In a report released Wednesday, the group outlined six areas where the state could save money: by replacing its 30-year-old accounting system; upgrading its IT capabilities and other management processes (such as procurement); overhauling the pension system; reforming the criminal justice system; revising health insurance for state employees; and increasing efficiency in tax collections.
“This report presents ideas that have been fully vetted by business leaders, public servants with knowledge of government operations, and TaxWatch research staff,” John R. Alexander, chairman of the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency, said in a news release accompanying the report.
“These recommendations are responsible, proactive, and the right solutions for all Floridians. I am confident in my hope that Florida’s elected leaders take these recommendations into consideration as they determine how to allocate taxpayer dollars in the coming session and beyond.”
TaxWatch has been issuing the annual report since 2009. In prior years, suggested changes adopted by the Florida Legislature have saved taxpayers about $4.2 billion, according to the release.
“The TaxWatch recommendations are designed to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and accountability while saving taxpayer dollars,” TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said in the release.
“Each recommendation contains a solution that our state’s elected leaders can act upon to help the Sunshine State better serve its customers, who are ultimately Florida taxpayers.”
While Florida’s economy has improved since the first report, the importance of cutting state spending where necessary hasn’t changed, TaxWatch Chairman John B. Zumwalt III said in the release.
“Even as our policymakers and elected officials enter the fiscal year with a budget surplus, it is crucial that reforms are made to increase efficiency and reduce spending to ensure that Florida faces an economically stable future,” Zumwalt said.
“It is our hope that the Legislature considers these recommendations while they determine how to spend Floridians’ hard-earned dollars in 2014.”
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