New Pew Report Shows How States Can Stabilize Economy
A new Pew Center on the States report — “Trade-off Time: How Four States Continue to Deliver” — shows how Indiana, Maryland, Utah and Virginia are using the downturn in the national economy as an opportunity to rethink how they do business and assess how their programs measure up.
“States that make good budget decisions now can help stabilize the economy, soften the impact of the crisis on families and spur a recovery that benefits the entire nation,” said Susan Urahn, managing director of The Pew Center on the States. “In the midst of economic downturn, there is an opportunity to re-think how to run state government.”
The trend toward “performance-driven budgeting” is growing, the report observes. Thirty-nine states now include performance measures in agency budget requests, and 42 states report some level of these measures online; 22 legislatures reported using performance measures in their budget decision making, according to recent budget analyses.
Among the steps that the states in the study are taking to ensure that they get the most out of the dollars they are spending:
- Utah introduced a four-day work week with 10-hour days, saving the state an estimated $3 million in annual energy costs, and reducing the cost of commuting for state employees by $6 million a year. Among other benefits of moving to a shorter work week, constituents can access state services before and after work, traffic is down and employees have reduced their use of sick days and annual leave by 9%.
- Virginia saved nearly $1 million by replacing private food service contracts at several prisons when calculations showed that food could be provided more cheaply in-house.
- Indiana employed performance-driven budgeting practices — which measure the results achieved for every tax dollar spent — to identify cuts to ineffective programs as well as areas needing more investment, such as the state’s department of child services.
- By implementing StateStat — a data management system that monitors 10 major departments to identify where to trim to achieve savings and better results — Maryland closed an under-capacity juvenile justice detention facility, saving the state $1.5 million. Of that money, $600,000 was reallocated to less expensive community-based youth initiatives that use family therapy and education programs shown to be more effective than incarceration.
For more information, e-mail Elizabeth Ambrose at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8253.
Attend the 2009 NAHB Legislative Conference on March 24
Builders and housing industry professionals should attend the 2009 NAHB Legislative Conference on Tuesday, March 24 in Washington, D.C. to tell members of Congress that housing deserves 100% of their ongoing attention so housing can once again lead the nation out of this troubled economy.
With policymakers in Washington confronting the most difficult financial crisis since the 1930s, attending this year’s conference could be one of the most important decisions that builders make this year — especially considering the growing downward momentum in housing and the nation’s job market.
This year’s NAHB Legislative Conference on March 24 will take place earlier than the NAHB spring board of directors meeting because of the depth of the downturn and the need for a solution.
For more information and to register for the legislative conference, click here; or e-mail Molly Murray at NAHB or call her at 800-368-5242 x8282.