2015-16 Government Efficiency Task Force Report
This report represents the final recommendations of the 2015-16 Government Efficiency Task Force. These 29 recommendations, if implemented, will significantly improve the efficiency of government and reduce the cost of government by an estimated $2.14 billion (low estimate) to $12.14 billion (high estimate) annually. When eliminating the remaining barriers to telehealth is considered, Florida taxpayers stand to save billions in healthcare costs annually.
ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY TASK FORCE
In 2006, voters approved an amendment to the Florida Constitution creating the Government Efficiency Task Force1 (“Task Force”), for the purpose of developing recommendations to improve governmental operations and reduce costs. First established in 2007, the Task Force is required to meet every four years and submit its recommendations to the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Legislative Budget Commission, the Governor, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Task Force is composed of 15 members of the Legislature and representatives from the private and public sectors who are appointed by the Governor (5), the Speaker of the House of Representatives (5), and the President of the Senate (5). The Task Force has one year in which to complete its work and submit its recommendations.2
The Task Force began its deliberations in September 2015, under the direction of Chairman John Alexander and Vice-Chairman Representative Dan Raulerson. Using the final report of the 2011 Task Force as a starting point, the Task Force reviewed reports by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA), the Auditor General, agency inspectors general, legislative reports, and other agency reports to identify issues that could produce cost savings or improve government efficiency. Task Force members and taxpayers were also invited to submit issues to the Task Force for consideration.
This review produced an initial list of 36 issues that, if implemented, would improve government efficiency or reduce the costs of government. These issues were assigned to one of four committees for further review— the Civil and Criminal Justice Committee, chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Ken Bell; the General Government Committee, chaired by Senator Jeff Brandes; the Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Representative Jason Brodeur; and the Government Efficiency Committee, chaired by Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro.
Upon completion of their due diligence, the Committees recommended 11 issues for inclusion in an interim report3 that was submitted to the chairperson and vice chairperson of the Legislative Budget Commission, the Governor, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court before the start of the 2016 legislative session. Copies were also made available to each member of the Florida Legislature. Each issue included in the Interim Report was selected based upon the following criteria: (1) there must be demonstrated cost savings or improvement in government efficiency; (2) the cost savings must be significant; (3) the cost savings must be recurring; and (4) there is a good chance of implementation.
Delays in appointing Task Force members and the early start of the 2016 legislative session limited the effectiveness of the Interim Report and, for these reasons, many of the recommendations contained in the Interim Report have been carried over to the final report.
Despite these limitations, the Task Force was able to achieve the following successes during the 2016 legislative session:
Legislation was passed and approved by the Governor that establishes a pilot program to offenders who have mental illnesses or concurrent mental illnesses and substance use disorders and who are involved in or at risk of entering state forensic mental health treatment facilities, prisons, jails, or state civil mental health treatment facilities;
Funding was appropriated to continue the replacement of FLAIR and CMS. These funds are provided to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to complete all tasks associated with the Pre-Design, Development, and Implementation phase as recommended in the March 31, 2014, DFS FLAIR Study;
Funding was appropriated to continue the implementation of the Agency for State Technology. Proviso language in the General Appropriations Act requires AST collaboration with several state agencies on large-scale technology projects; and
Legislation was passed and approved by the Governor that authorizes licensed health care professionals to use telehealth to deliver health care services within their respective scopes of practice.
After the 2016 legislative session, the Task Force continued its efforts to identify and recommend ways to improve governmental operations and reduce costs. Task Force members reviewed those remaining issues that had been previously considered but not included in the Interim Report, as well as any new issues. The result of this process was 18 new recommendations, which are included in this report.
In addition to recommendations to improve government efficiency and reduce the costs of government, the Task Force offers the following recommendations designed to maximize the effectiveness of the 2019-20 Government Efficiency Task Force:
- The Task Force recommends the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives complete their appointments to the 2019 Government Efficiency Task Force before January 1, 2019. This will ensure compliance with the requirements contained in Article III, Section 19(i), Florida Constitution, and in section 11.905, Florida Statutes. This will provide the Task Force a window of opportunity (albeit a brief one) to present interim recommendations before the March 5, 2019 start of the 2019 regular legislative session. This will also ensure that the Task Force has the maximum amount of time permitted under the Constitution and Florida Statutes in which to present its recommendations to the chairperson and vice chairperson of the Legislative Budget Commission, the Governor, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and to educate legislators on its recommendations, before the start of the 2020 regular legislative session.
- The Task Force recommends the 2018 and 2019 legislatures appropriate funding for a full-time Executive Director and dedicated staff to support the 2019-20 Government Efficiency Task Force. The Executive Director should be hired and staff in place before January 1, 2019. The use of current State of Florida employees to support the activities of the 2015-16 Task Force, in addition to their normal job duties and responsibilities, proved to be ineffective. Having staff dedicated to the Task Force on a full-time basis will greatly improve the operation and effectiveness of the Task Force.