Business coalition says recommendations could save Ohio $1.4 billionWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A coalition of Ohio business groups has joined a growing chorus in support of diverting nonviolent criminals from state prisons to save money in the next state budget.
Nine Ohio-based chambers of commerce on Dec. 20 released their ideas for tackling the state’s estimated $8 billion budget shortfall.
Their recommendations also include allowing state agencies to operate more like charter schools, with more flexibility over employees and more control over their budgets. They also support state officials reviewing the tax benefits that some of their own member businesses receive.
The groups say their recommendations could save the state an estimated $1.4 billion in its next two-year budget.
The participating metropolitan chambers of commerce include: Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Columbus Chamber, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Akron Chamber, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.
A press release by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce said the report, titled “Redesigning Ohio: Transforming Government into a 21st Century Institution,” includes the following recommendations:
- Adopt budgeting for outcomes as the underpinning for the government redesign plan. Rather than making incremental changes to the status quo, this approach focuses on what matters most: purchasing outcomes that drive citizens’ value. Programs that do not contribute much to those outcomes are no longer included in the budget.
- Establish charter agencies and entrepreneurial management as “bureaucracy busting” measures to save money and/or increase revenues while increasing creativity and flexibility for managers.
- Make state agencies that provide support services to government accountable to their customers, and use the power of competition to drive innovation and improvement.
- Reduce state regulatory enforcement costs by designing regulations that achieve the same outcomes as their predecessors but are easier to comply with and, as a result, decrease the likelihood that they will be violated.
- Implement a comprehensive tax expenditure review to regularly examine the 122 distinct tax expenditures – credits, exemptions and deductions – that amount to $7.7 billion in lost state revenue annually. Also, reduce or cap costly real property tax rollbacks.
- Adopt civil service and compensation reform that will give managers freedom to manage their people; link public employee compensation to performance; and bring state pensions into line with private sector realities.
- Reduce the costs of the public pensions system through changing contribution formulas, consolidating redundant systems and increasing cost sharing of some benefits.
- Improve Ohio’s health insurance value equation by using the state’s bulk purchasing power to help drive down healthcare costs.
- Significantly reduce prison system costs by directing more nonviolent offenders away from adult prisons toward non-residential community-based monitoring and treatment.
- Establish new structures on the state and county levels and provide both carrot and stick incentives and assistance to promote local government efficiencies, sharing of services and consolidation.