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Florida TaxWatch offers ideas to cut $4 billion from state budget

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TALLAHASSEE —  Florida TaxWatch held a news conference today at the Capitol to release its “Government Cost Savings Task Force” report, containing 135 recommendations that can be implemented immediately to help cut costs and grow revenue for the state of Florida in 2012-13. The report was released to the governor and Legislature with suggestions for actionable cost-saving ideas totaling more than $4 billion.

“This menu of cost-savings and efficiency improvement recommendations is provided to elected leaders and the taxpayers in order to reduce the cost of government while preserving core services. Implementing these recommendations will streamline government, which would make our state more competitive globally and lead to economic growth and job recovery,” said Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. “Now, more than ever, recommendations like these to save taxpayer dollars and contain costs are vital.”

Two of the 50 business-minded Floridians who served as tax force members, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and state Sen. J.D. Alexander, praised the team’s efforts and results.

Also offering high praise was Rep. Will Weatherford, the incoming speaker of the House, who said, “I commend the efforts of the Task Force in finding dozens of ways to reduce the cost of government and improve government efficiency. I look forward to working with Florida TaxWatch, Speaker Dean Cannon and the legislative leadership to discuss ideas like those in the task force report to realize cost savings for Florida families and businesses.”

In a press release, Florida TaxWatch listed the following cost-savings and cost-containment ideas:

– Expanding evidence-based substance abuse, mental health, faith and character, and literacy and job  skills programs to reduce recidivism

– Continuing to reduce juvenile commitments to residential facilities for misdemeanants and aligning lengths of stay in juvenile residential facilities with best practices

– Expanding the Civil Citation program with a targeted approach to address school-related arrests for misdemeanant

– Implementing a defined contribution healthcare model

– Expanding the role of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

-Better identifying waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicaid and the health care system

– Enforcing use of negotiated State Term Contracts to reduce the cost of purchasing needed goods and services by the state

– Requiring the purchase of generic equivalents to needed products when they are available

– Improving collection of legally owed sales taxes on remotely conducted sales

– Standardizing the business process

– Improving the management of state-owned vehicle fleet

– Eliminating the Deferred Option Retirement Program

 

The full report from Florida TaxWatch can be read here.

Michele Kirk

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