For Immediately Release
January 12, 2007
Contact: Mark Bergman, 804-644-1966 ext. 222 (office); 804-269-1323 (cell)
Democrats introduce legislation to increase government efficiency
Would allow government agencies to more efficiently use Virginia taxpayer dollars
(Richmond, VA) Democratic leaders today announced their plans to introduce legislation that will require an audit and review of legislative spending to ensure that the General Assembly is operating efficiently. Delegate Steve Shannon and Senator Mark Herring plan to introduce studies that will require the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study legislative efficiency and recommend improvements.
Currently, the Legislative Department has an annual budget of $63 million. The Department of Planning and Budget has developed successful programs for evaluating the efficiency of schools that has to date produced savings of over $15 million dollars in multiple school divisions across the Commonwealth.
A similar study and evaluation of the legislative department’s spending could produce significant savings.
“At the General Assembly we have an obligation to make sure we are conducting business in the most efficient way possible with Virginia taxpayer dollars,” Delegate Steve Shannon said. “We should be investing our tax dollars towards our roads, our schools, and keeping our streets safe, not towards unnecessary spending at the General Assembly.”
The General Assembly has not conducted a self audit of legislative spending in recent years.
“With a transportation crisis looming, it is essential that we find savings anywhere we can,” Senator Mark Herring said. “And, the buck has to stop with the legislature. The General Assembly must operate at the most efficient level possible, so we can fully invest tax dollars in the needs for Virginia’s future.”
Delegate David Marsden also appeared at the news conference to announce his legislation that will reward government agencies that realize efficiencies. The bill would enable government agencies to find savings in their budget. Fifty percent of those savings identified would be returned to the agency for their use in funding unbudgeted priorities if necessary, while the remaining dollars would be moved to the general fund, but restricted to the “Rainy Day” fund and debt relief for the Comonwealth.
“As a former agency head, I know firsthand that there is almost no incentive for government agencies to find savings and new efficiencies,” Delegate Marsden said. “As a Commonwealth, we must recognize and reward government agencies that are trying to make Virginia government work smarter for Virginia families.