Elected officials that serve at all levels of government, from local to federal, are expected to serve with the highest moral and ethical integrity. We live in the oldest free republic in the history of the world and our founding fathers created this democracy so that government reflected the will of the people at every level. It is important that today's government is serving the best interests of its citizens.
Unfortunately, our government has strayed from these founding beliefs. With irresponsible spending and excessive government growth, we are putting our next generation further into debt each passing day. Government waste is becoming all too familiar without an end in sight. We can no longer afford for our government to run irresponsibly and ineffectively. Ohio urgently needs reforms which will guarantee transparency in government spending and efficiency in government operations.
Ohio's Executive branch of state government is too large and bloated, with over 60,000 state employees, 24 cabinet departments, and over 300 boards, commissions, task forces and councils. Streamlining and consolidation is one of the most effective ways to increase efficiency and reduce wasteful spending in state government, which is why I support HB 25 which is a fundamental restructuring of our state government. I believe this reorganization will allow the state to focus on its core missions, eliminate duplicate state services and functions, reduce the number of state employees, and see that the taxpayers of Ohio are not paying more for government than is necessary. Through this government reorganization our state would save nearly $1 billion annually.
One of the most important roles of the legislature is to provide financial oversight of the executive branch to ensure public accountability of the dollars spent. A key effort to make government more accountable is my effort to create a Legislative Budget Office (LBO) that is independent of the data provided by the executive branch, and would provide financial oversight and continuous monitoring of state finances (HB 120). The LBO would be able to provide the important duty of advising the legislature of any potential problems or issues arising with state finance, and have the ability to raise any questions regarding fiscal actions taken by the Governor or a state agency, both on the LBO's own initiative and on request. The LBO will be independent and transparent -- all records created will be open to the public and press.
Another effort I support to make state government more accountable is to require the Auditor of State to conduct performance audits of state departments. A performance audit is an examination of the operation and management of a government agency to evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness in using state resources. This is different from a financial audit which is the review of the financial statements of a company or government agency. The Auditor of State's experience in conducting financial audits has resulted in significant savings. By constantly reviewing the performance and operation of state agencies, as the best businesses in private industry currently do, we can ensure Ohio taxpayers see additional savings and get the best return on their investment.
Additionally, our duty to cut wasteful and duplicative spending from the state budget is why I support a proposal to create a State Government Efficiency Commission (HB 66). The commission will consist of established business leaders that will be responsible for studying state agencies, identify ways to make them more efficient and business friendly, and recommend cost saving measures for implementation. The goal is to reduce state spending, grow our economy, and protect taxpayers and families -- not government programs.
As Ohio's families are being forced to make budgetary decisions and be more efficient with their finances, it is time for their government to do the same. These common sense solutions will make our state more efficient while costing us less, and complements our economic development strategy to make Ohio a better place for business and job growth.