Issue Position: Efficient Government
During these difficult economic times, Missouri families are tightening their belts to make ends meet. Jay Nixon believes state government must do the same. As Governor, Jay will take smart, common-sense steps to make our government more efficient, effective and fiscally responsible.
In 16 years as Attorney General, Jay has run the most fiscally responsible office in state government. Last year, the Attorney General's Office generated or returned more than $20 to the taxpayers for every dollar the office was appropriated by the legislature. In total, Jay has saved the taxpayers more than $2 billion by fining criminals and cracking down on corporations that take advantage of Missouri consumers.
By managing his office in a fiscally responsible manner, Attorney General Nixon not only balanced the office budget every year, but he also ensured that the office always finished the year considerably under budget -- saving the state millions of additional dollars.
As Governor, Nixon will establish a state Performance Review Commission of private sector executives, elected officials and senior-level state employees who will be charged with reviewing state operations and developing recommendations for improvement. The Commission will conduct a top-to-bottom review of every government agency, department and program to find out what works and what doesn't. We'll find the inefficiencies and figure out how to correct the problem or eliminate the program.
For example, more than 60 boards and commissions currently manage our state's health care system. We must consolidate and streamline these organizations to save money for Missouri taxpayers and make accessing these valuable services more consumer friendly. Performance reviews in other states have eliminated millions of dollars in wasteful spending. In West Virginia, a statewide review in 2006 identified savings of nearly $320 million.
To ensure even greater efficiencies, Nixon will also identify ways to streamline the state procurement process, reduce the usage of state vehicles, hold agencies accountable for implementing audit recommendations and look for ways to aggregate purchases to take advantage of bulk pricing. Moreover, he will aggressively pursue new opportunities to integrate technology into government operations to serve citizens more efficiently and save money for taxpayers.
Jay will also demand accountability from businesses receiving Missouri tax credits. This year, the state issued more than $500 million in tax credits. Some of those credits went to programs determined to be ineffective or inefficient. The current system lacks focus and accountability. Jay Nixon will see that the state implements strong "clawback" provisions into every tax credit so that businesses live up to their promises and Missouri sees a return on its investment. Those who fail to complete their work on time, don't finish a job or violate proven labor standards, including employing illegal immigrants, will be severely penalized.