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.