Commentary

Louisiana Budget Chief Angele Davis on Streamlining State Government

Reason Foundation’s Innovators in Action 2009 features an interview with Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis (PDF version here, who is playing a central implementation role in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s wide-ranging efforts to streamline the state bureaucracy. Here’s an excerpt:

Leonard Gilroy, Reason Foundation: Nearly every state, and many local governments, are facing a protracted fiscal crisis. What is Louisiana facing on the fiscal front? What’s driving the push toward streamlining government in the state?

Angele Davis, Louisiana Commissioner of Administration: Like most other states, we’re facing budget deficits projected over the next several years, including a $948.7 million shortfall for FY 2010â??11 alone. Given these challenges, we’re aggressively putting fiscal reforms in place. Primarily we’re focused on reducing the cost and size of government by evaluating program effectiveness and getting rid of those that don’t measure up through elimination, consolidation, privatization or the strategic use of technology. We’re expanding our use of performance measurement to drive accountability and to see what works and what needs improvement. We don’t have enough money to get the outcomes we want for citizens if we spend it in the same ways we spent it last year and the year before.

Read the whole thing for a detailed review of the variety of internal cost-cutting and efficiency strategies underway in Louisiana. This interview gives a excellent example of the type of broad, wide-ranging thinking and action it takes to tackle a fiscal crisis of the scale that many states are facing these days. In short, there’s no silver bullet, and reform involves many moving parts, as we’re seeing in Louisiana.

For other examples of innovative policy and management approaches in government, don’t miss the rest of Innovators in Action 2009.

Leonard Gilroy is Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. The Pension Integrity Project assists policymakers and other stakeholders in designing, analyzing and implementing public sector pension reforms.

The project aims to promote solvent, sustainable retirement systems that provide retirement security for government workers while reducing taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and reducing long-term costs for employers/taxpayers and employees. The project team provides education, reform policy options, and actuarial analysis for policymakers and stakeholders to help them design reform proposals that are practical and viable.

In 2016 and 2017, Reason's Pension Integrity Project helped design, negotiate and draft pension reforms for the state of Arizona's Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan, which both passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state legislature and were signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Gilroy is also the Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, researching privatization, public-private partnerships, infrastructure and urban policy issues.

Gilroy has a diversified background in policy research and implementation, with particular emphases on competition, government efficiency, transparency, accountability, and government performance. Gilroy has worked closely with legislators and elected officials in Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, California and several other states and local governments in efforts to design and implement market-based policy approaches, improve government performance, enhance accountability in government programs, and reduce government spending.

In 2010 and 2011, Gilroy served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Arizona Commission on Privatization and Efficiency, and in 2010 he served as an advisor to the New Jersey Privatization Task Force, created by Gov. Chris Christie.

Gilroy is the editor of the widely-read Annual Privatization Report, which examines trends and chronicles the experiences of local, state, and federal governments in bringing competition to public services. Gilroy also edits Reason's Innovators in Action interview series, which profiles public sector innovators in their own words, including former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani and more.

Gilroy's articles have been featured in such leading publications as The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, The Weekly Standard, Washington Times, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Arizona Republic, San Francisco Examiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sacramento Bee and The Salt Lake Tribune. He has also appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, CNBC, National Public Radio and other media outlets.

Prior to joining Reason, Gilroy was a senior planner at a Louisiana-based urban planning consulting firm. He also worked as a research assistant at the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech. Gilroy earned a B.A. and M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech.