Public spending is so far ahead of Connecticut’s economic growth, says the Connecticut Regional Institute for the 21st Century, that over the past 12 years, the cost of delivering state and local public services has grown 405% faster than median personal income.
But while government costs have risen, performance hasn’t.
In its new report, Improving the Delivery of Public Services, the Institute says taxpayers are tapped out and policymakers should not increase state spending until they do a much better job of managing public resources.
Changing how local governments operate and how the state interacts with them can “free up scarce resources to meet our state’s pressing priorities, saving taxpayer dollars and getting better results,” says the Institute.
The problem is, Connecticut is overpopulated with state and local government “silos” that don’t work well together but drive up taxpayers’ costs.
“Connecticut has an ineffective myriad of state, local, and education structures that are excessive, overlapped, non-aligned, and competing for the same precious dollars,” says the Institute, in its fourth in a series of reports focusing on reforming state spending.
There has to be a better way to deliver public services—in fact, there are many, says the Institute.
It recommends more efficient purchasing of goods and services, sharing services among municipalities (such as information technology, and pre-K education), reforming public education, creating uniform charts of accounting to provide transparency in public data, and “redefining” regional organizations to make them stronger and more effective.
Perhaps most of all, Connecticut needs to break down the “silos” of state agencies that work independently of each other, block regional cooperation and hinder the maximization of state investments.
Taking down these independent silos will require “new attitudes by state agencies on how they work,” says the Institute.
“The state cannot expect to improve its metropolitan regions and its prosperity without intentional, aligned, cross agency efforts that target unified community outcomes,” says the Institute’s report.
CBIA, which is a partner with the Institute in its series of studies, continues to urge state lawmakers to find ways to streamline state government.
Adopting the Institute’s recommendations for reforming long-term care, corrections, government retiree benefits, municipal shared services and nonprofit provision of state-run community services is a practical way to accomplish that goal.
For more information about streamlining state government, contact CBIA’s Pete Gioia at 860.244.1945 or firstname.lastname@example.org.