Archive for the ‘Performance Review’ Category

2013 is already upon us, and three days in things are headed downhill. Congress just passed a bill to respond to the so-called “fiscal cliff” by increasing EVERYONE’S taxes at least a little bit, and a lot if you have a high income (note: if your money comes from investments and assets, such as Warren Buffett, your taxes will be unchanged). More battles will come up on the debt ceiling, automatic defense cuts, and future budget deals (if any come), and no doubt the partisanship will continue.

Delaware has its own problems to deal with: unfunded pension liabilities, out of control Medicaid spending, bad deals with Fisker and Bloom Energy, education performances moving sideways and not up, and taxes such as the gross receipts taxes which harm business growth. These are just a sample of the issues facing the state. While CRI would like to resolve every major issue within the state, that is not very likely.

Therefore CRI will spend 2013 focusing on three elements: improving education standards, discouraging corporate subsidies, and preventing the state from passing any legislation which pushes single-payer healthcare by abolishing private healthcare insurance.

Education reform will be CRI’s top priority in 2013. There is general consensus that the education system as currently structured is not serving the students well, particularly those in areas like Wilmington and Dover, where parents usually do not have theĀ  financial means to send their children off to private schools, and who cannot be guaranteed a slot in the charter schools due to bureaucratic processes. CRI is calling for legislative actions to allow the money to “follow the student”, where parents have options such as Education Savings Accounts (ESA) that give parents the financial opportunity to choose where they want to educate their child. We hope to inform and engage the public and the legislators into some serious action this year that will give students a big victory for their future.

Our second goal is to reduce, if not eliminate, subsidies for preferred businesses and special interest friends of the government. Bloom Energy and Fisker Automotive are two prime examples of the government handing over “subsidies” for “investment” in these companies, meaning hundreds of millions in tax dollars to give to these companies, money we will in reality never receive payback for. There is no industry in Delaware receiving taxpayer money that can be said to be worth the corporate welfare. Our aim is to educate the public and legislators, and push Delaware to either reduce/eliminate current government subsidies to preferred parties, or else to agree to prohibit future government subsidies via “corporate welfare”.

Our third goal will be to discourage the Legislature from passing any bill which bans private health insurance in favor of “single payer” government. While CRI acknowledges the issues in containing healthcare costs, such as Tort reform, allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines, and using means-tested methods to determine who qualifies for Medicare or Medicaid as opposed to just handing it out to anyone who asks, there is no way the government can raise all the taxes needed to pay for this without destroying job opportunities or sending them out of state. Plus, the government will not be able to manage the insurance aspects of healthcare policy without setting up a massive, inefficient bureaucracy, just like they do with everything else.

What do you think? Are there any goals CRI should work for that are no mentioned above?

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A report released by State Auditor Tom Wagner estimates that the state can save approximately $50.1 million by consolidating the state’s 19 school districts into four districts.

The report analyzes the cost savings that could occur if the General Assembly passes Senate Bill 95 sponsored by Senator Karen Peterson and co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators.

The legislation calls for consolidating the 19 school districts into four districts:  a Northern District (New Castle County north of the canal); a Central District (New Castle County below the canal plus Kent County); a Southern District (Sussex County); and a consolidated Vo-Tech District.

The existing school districts would fall into the proposed consolidated districts as follows:

Northern:  Brandywine, Christina, Colonial, Red Clay

Central: Appoquinimink, Caesar Rodney, Capital, Lake Forest, Milford, Smyrna

Southern:  Cape Henlopen, Delmar, Indian River, Laurel, Seaford, Woodbridge

Vo-Tech:  New Castle County Vo-Tech, Polytech, Sussex Vo-Tech

Wagner’s report highlights cost savings from the merger and elimination of administrative positions resulting from consolidation. Wagner compared existing payroll information in Delaware with that of surrounding comparably sized school districts.

As stated in the report, “Based on research of surrounding states, AOA [Auditor of Accounts] identified several comparably sized districts to each proposed district, and we obtained their respective rosters of administrative positions. We compared the number of administrative positions, by category, to the average number of administrative positions for that category in the comparable districts.”

This analysis resulted in Wagner’s proposing to eliminate 363 positions through consolidation into the new Northern District, 259 proposed eliminated positions in the Central District and 119 proposed eliminated positions in the Southern District. The Vo-Tech analysis was released in an earlier report.

The Vo-Tech consolidation savings are estimated to be $4,436,327. Combined with the estimated $45,469,422 in savings from the Northern, Central and Southern consolidation plan, the estimated savings total $50.1 million.

The savings will be found by eliminating various administrative positions through consolidation as follows. Note:  these figures are statewide totals. Wagner’s report breaks the numbers down by consolidated district.

Admin. Assistant – General Admin/legal:  -3

Superintendents:  -12

Deputy/Assistant Superintendent:  -10

Casual/Seasonal:  -16

Clerks:  -48

Directors: -18

Managers/Supervisors: -46

Secretaries: -217

Financial Secretaries:  -113

Specialists:  -116

Other:  -142

In total, there are 741 proposed eliminations.

You can read The News Journal’s coverage here for more information.

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On Friday evening, I received a report on Governor Markell’s performance audits in response to the FOIA request I submitted on June 29, 2009. The Governor’s office also release the report to the media (and presumably) the public at large. So, hopefully a larger number of people are now able to see the report.

I’ll be summarizing the report on this blog shortly. It can be viewed here.

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