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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Efficiency task force offers up savings ideas, faces big hurdles

If Florida government truly were efficient, universities would offer a full complement of classes all summer. Judges would be given more flexibility when sentencing offenders. Inmates would get vocational training and literacy skills in prison. And legislators would not pass laws that tie the hands of state officials when negotiating contracts.

These are just some of the recommendations offered up Wednesday by the constitutionally-created Government Efficiency Task Force, a 15-member panel required to meet every four years to make money-saving recommendations to the governor, Legislature and the Florida Supreme Court.

Many of the ideas — such as year-round universities — have been on the rule books before but have been whittled down by the Legislature.

Indeed, Florida’s 160-member Legislature, and its practice of allowing monied special interest to dictate its policies, became the indirect punching bag of many of the task force recommendations.

The task force is appointed by the governor, House speaker and Senate president. Tucked in its 250 pages of recommendations are numerous examples of barriers that prevent the state from saving billions of dollars. Those barriers are erected by legislators and often grow out of turf battles between agencies and industries.

More here.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 7, 2012 9:29am]


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