Letters to the Editor

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BUDGET: Government spending must shrink

Letter by Francis G. Bergford, Olympia on Oct. 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm with 10 Comments »
October 4, 2011 9:48 am

This is not going to be a popular letter amongst folks who like big government and depend on them, but it is an idea to throw out there to start a conversation about fixing our 2 billion dollar state deficit.

As of last years numbers, according to the Office of Financial Management, there are approximately 110,000 state employees. The majority of them are in four categories: education, transportation, corrections and health/social services. When Gov. Chris Gregoire took over as our governor she rapidly increased state government approximately 35 percent, which was more than the growth of our state population.

We have to shrink our state government (that means cut some state jobs). Do we need janitors, do we need lawn care, do we need the state to have a printing department? Do we need the Department of Transportation owning construction equipment that it rarely uses? Do we need State Patrol officers driving their patrol cars home?

These are just some examples of where state government can save money. We have to start somewhere, because government’s out-of-control spending is killing our economy.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. commoncents says:

    I recognize and agree that the state needs to lower their spending – however where to pull it from is the ultimate debate. What’s important to you and others would be unimportant to me and vice versa. Those examples that you cited? Only one of them I agreed with….the printing dept. Now you see the problem that we have….

  2. BlaineCGarver says:

    Oh, I can predict where the cuts will come….the most painful to the neediest so The Queen can guilt the people into more taxes. You can bet the cuts will NOT come from those that fill the coffers of the State Democrats…

  3. The state printing department has been audited many times. It consistently proves itself to be much cheaper and faster than private alternatives.

    In fact, there is a law that state agencies and departments must be evaluated routinely to see if the needs could be met better by private services. If so, current employees get to bid like others, but the cheapest bid wins.

    An example is when the legislature needs bills printed, they get priority treatment, and the state would have to pay a bundle for that kind of speed and numbers.

    If we could agree to eliminate all printing and only use electronic formats then maybe we won’t need a printing department, but I doubt that will happen in my lifetime, or even a generation or two.

    People like to request public documents in print so they can be sure they are not altered. People like seeing and signing hard copies of contracts and having them in archival formats.

    We need some fundamental changes to the way we do business, indeed. The least efficient and effective way to pay for medical services is private insurance. If we can eliminate the middle men of private insurance carriers, we would see a huge reduction in medical costs, and that would lower the cost of state government dramatically. That won’t happen in my lifetime, either.

  4. KARDNOS says:

    “When Gov. Chris Gregoire took over as our governor she rapidly increased state government approximately 35 percent, which was more than the growth of our state population.”

    Got some support data from other than the Evergreen Freedom Foundation?

  5. KARDNOS says:

    The department of Printing has been farming out work for as long as I can remember. If they could get by on outsourcing alone, they would have.

  6. KARDNOS says:

    “Do we need janitors,”

    Janitorial work for the State is handled by a non-profit that employs the developmentally disabled.

    It appears that the letter writer didn’t do his homework.

    No surprise.

  7. KARDNOS says:

    Pacman….sorry to have ruined Bergie’s rant with those facts…..

  8. commoncents says:

    Tuddo – I have no doubt that individual contracts/bids are more expensive when sourced out of the printing dept. However, if they looked for a bidder to do all of their work they likely would find it cheaper. That being said, the priority service/rush service print jobs would inevitably cost the state more money overall so the state would need to watch those to make sure it happens only minimally.

  9. commoncents, one thing I did agree with the auditors report of April 25, 2011 on the state print shop, is that state agencies have too much print capacity in their own agencies and this is underutilized.

    State agencies do a lot of their own in-house printing using local desk-top or office printers for smaller jobs without looking at the cost benefits of outsourcing to private printers or to the state print shop. This is more for convenience than anything, and it costs a bundle.

    The audit recommended a mix of competition between public and private printing and that state agencies become much more cognizant of the excess print capability they have by requiring more printing to have spot bids by private printers and the state print shop.

    I do think that competition can decrease costs and increase efficiency.

  10. KARDNOS says:

    tuddo hit the nail…..”composition”

    The cost of printing plate-ready is fairly easy to control. The creative side can run up the costs quickly. Would the State rather pay a contractor $75/hr for creative or their own employees $20/hr?

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