Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Budget Numbers

Nice budget update on Monday from the Senate Site. And having the chair of Executive Appropriations discuss it provides an appropriate personal touch. Even though the numbers were some $300 million or so short of what was previously projected, I think a lot of states would love to be where Utah is currently. Arizona, for example, is $1.2 billion short. And California has an estimated shortfall of $14.5 billion. Utah, on the other hand, has over $600 million in new money to spend, or refund.

There are a lot of bills this year that require new databases and services. Some of these can help to make government more efficient, but there are many things that we should be automating that we still aren't. Many opportunities still exist to provide better service online. And we need to continue to innovate, as well as market the egov services that we already have. With over 800 online services, we have done quite a bit, but we still have thousands of static pdf forms that we put online. We still have a lot of remnants left from a paper-based approach to things and put things online with the expectation that people are going to print them off in order to generate a process that will ultimately end up back in some kind of electronic format. So, I am not in favor of reducing the overall technology budget. Making it more efficient yes, but hopefully we can reinvest more of the savings that have been gained through technology into new service-oriented initiatives.

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