Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why Texans need change of their own.

The Dallas Morning News has a series of articles about Texas under the banner: State of Neglect. The Austin American Statesman has a series of articles on privatization of the state’s business that asks key questions:
1. How much the state of Texas has contracted to for-profit companies?
2. How much have we, the taxpayers, saved?

Both answers: “no one knows.”

We know of a very public failure of a contract between TX Health and Human Services and Accenture LLP. We also know of the serious difficulties with the contract between the TX Department of Information Resources and IBM. Then there’s the lesser known failure of the Camino Columbia private toll road in south TX.

The state’s budget isn’t in the red, because the TX constitution doesn’t allow deficits. The state has no documentation to show that the budget has been met by outsourcing, but there is a plethora of proof of the fact that the budget has been met by cutting state services; hence the State of Neglect.

The state’s expenditures are not declining while things get better, and there is no data being brandished that demonstrates where and how outsourcing is improving services while reducing cost, yet…

The US Department of Justice has found serious problems in the way Texas cares for its institutionalized people with mental health problems, and some folks are calling this a reason to continue to outsource the state’s work. I maintain that this is the continued effort of the state’s majority party trying to justify their claim of government as the problem, by governing badly.

In order to do better at serving Texans and meet budget guidelines the current legislative session would need to find a way to increase the state’s revenue in a soured economy. That would be best accomplished in a manner I suggested in the previous post. That would require the current majority party in both legislative bodies and the governor’s office to admit that they can’t deliver everything and a tax cut.

Those least able to afford the day to day costs of living, let alone lobby their state government, can expect life to get a little rougher as the State of Neglect is maintained.

There are more state, elected offices that will be contested in 2010. Make sure to register and vote for change here in Texas, too!

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