Out of Control Policy Blog

Blowing Up Boxes in Sacramento

The season of high theater is underway in the state capital and Reason
Foundation is knee-deep in the fun!

Next week, the Governor will unveil his revised annual budget for state
government. Will unexpected revenue gains from an undeniably successful tax
amnesty program mean a short, quick budget fight? Or will recent calls for
a "line in the sand" approach to budget reductions by some members of the
legislature foreshadow a long, drawn-out fight?

If that isn't enough, the Governor's "California Performance Review," which
I have been honored to serve as a Director of for the past three months, is
lurking in the background, quietly evaluating state government. Our goal is
simple. Create a government that is transparent, accountable, and
competitive.

I have attached a couple recent articles below related to CPR and our
historic attempt to "blow up the boxes" of the state organization chart.

I also have to tell you about one person in particular that I have met here.
He is a mild-mannered guy named Denzil Verardo from the Department of Parks
and Recreation. He epitomizes CPR and is leading the effort here to shift
California to performance-based budgeting.

Few people are passionate about budgeting but Denzil certainly is. In
March, Denzil presented his view of performance based budgeting to a room
full of CPR members, as well as Department Directors and Agency Secretaries.
He was almost glowing with passion for the idea. In fact, one Agency
Secretary that shall remain nameless stood up and was so impressed with his
presentation that she declared "you are the second person named 'Denzel'
that I have fallen in love with!

Just two weeks ago, Denzil even found a way to work performance-based
budgeting into his family vacation. While most people go to Disneyworld
while in Florida, Denzil visited the Florida Office of Program Policy
Analysis and Government Accountability-the center of their performance-based
budgeting efforts. He even went on his own dime!

With the passage of the 1994 Government Performance and Accountability Act,
the Sunshine state began the process of budgeting based on performance.
Denzil went there to learn from their experience and bring it back to
California.

While Denzil's passion for performance-based budgeting is unique, his
passion for reform is not. I cannot tell you how many folks I have
encountered at CPR with the same passion for a leaner government.

When I first started my "tour" with CPR, I worried about the extent to which
these public employees could challenge the culture of government that they
have been subject too for, in some cases, the past several decades.

While I still believe changing that culture to one responsive, accountable,
and results-based will be a major, long-term effort, my experience thus far
with the California Performance Review, and the folks like Denzil making it
happen, give me confidence that we will achieve our goals of a leaner, more
efficient government.

There will always be folks that resist change. That is, of course, human
nature. And you are no doubt going to see some sparks and smell some
smoke over the coming weeks.

Thank you for you ongoing support of Reason Foundation and our work to
expand liberty.

Warm Regards,

George Passantino,
Director of Government Affairs, Reason Foundation
Director, California Performance Review

PS Send CPR your suggestions on fundamental reform. You can either send
them to me directly or via CPR's online suggestion box, located at
http://www.cpr.ca.gov/email Second, we need to make it loud and clear that
California needs reform now, that we cannot wait until the fiscal storm
clears. You can email the governor at governor@governor.ca.gov.

RECENT CPR ARTICLES

Blowing Up Government: Inside Gov. Arnold's plan to restructure Sacramento
by Bill Bradley, LA Weekly

EDITORIAL: We should blow up bureaucratic boxes - but do it the right way
By Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee

Adam Summers is Senior Policy Analyst


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