Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Panel suggests cost cuts

Shrink the number of state-owned cars. Seek private companies to provide the food at state prisons. Reduce the number of managers at the Department of Social Services. Work with other states on joint purchase and service agreements to save money.

These are the first recommendations to be made officially by a select panel set to advise lawmakers on ways to make state government more efficient.

Some of the recommendations were small, like asking Social Services to hire a private company to do its printing, rather than doing it in-house. Others were more sweeping, like trying to privatize some of the state-run institutions for the developmentally disabled and consolidate others.

However, the Commission on Streamlining Government rejected or delayed many of the suggestions made by state Treasurer John Kennedy.

The Louisiana Legislature set up the commission to compile ways to cut costs in state government. The state is grappling with a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The commission’s recommendations — which are due at the end of the year — will go to Gov. Bobby Jindal and legislators.

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