California performance review recommends sweeping changes to state government.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commissioned the 275-member panel to perform a top-to-bottom review of state government that extended to virtually every program and process in almost every department and agency. The CPR operated under five guiding principles: (1) put people first, (2) save taxpayer dollars; (3) be accountable and efficient; (4) be visionary and innovative; and (5) be productive and performance-driven.
"We are facing some monumental problems in the state--no surprise there," said Chon Gutierrez, co-executive director of the CPR. "But the consequences of not doing something now to mend the structural disrepair in California government are frightening.
"As the governor said, we can't wait any longer for the next guys to come along and fix this stuff. We are the next guys. We were directed to get after the problems and come up with innovative, common sense solutions, and that's what we did. In effect, the ... process amounted to just about the world's largest brainstorm."
The plan would eliminate more than 100 boards and commissions, consolidate state services, and impose mandates on departments. The elimination of the boards and commissions is estimated to save the state $34 million a year and trim 1,153 jobs. Business leaders, union leaders, educators, ethnic activists, and others say the elimination of the boards and commissions would make it harder for citizens and businesses to reach state government. State union officials have also criticized the plan, saying it would make worker concerns secondary to stimulating the economy.
In the area of state budgeting, the report recommends that all major decisions on managing the state's fiscal affairs fall under the direction of a new Office of Management and Budget. The panel found that the key agencies that oversee state finances (finance, general services, and the state personnel board) "are so fragmented that strategic management and efficient operation is currently impossible." The report also recommends that the state go to a biennial budget.