Saturday, May 21, 2011

OK Government Agency Consolidation Bill

Today the Oklahoma Senate passed House Bill 2140, authored by President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa and House Speaker Kris Steele. The measure will consolidate administrative processes and help to eliminate duplication of services.
“This legislation will reduce the size Oklahoma government through consolidation and increasing efficiencies,” said Bingman. “Our efforts have been focused on job creation and government right-sizing throughout this session because they are one and the same. The citizens of our state have spoken and they will no longer tolerate a bloated, inefficient and expensive government. Taking these steps to reduce wasteful government overhead will allow us to free up our resources for better use in things that produce a positive economic benefit such as education, transportation and public safety - all things that help to grow our economy.”
Under HB 2140, the following agencies will be consolidated under the Office of State Finance:
o Dept of Central Services
o Office of Personnel Management
o Oklahoma State Employees Benefits Council
o State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board
“If we can consolidate agencies where there is duplication in services in a way that saves taxpayer dollars, let’s do it,” Bingman said. “I am not willing to direct the hard earned dollars of our taxpayers to an inefficient and duplicative government apparatus at the expense of schools, roads and public safety. We will make Oklahoma stronger by investing wisely with taxpayer resources, this bill accomplishes that and anything less is unacceptable.”
The next step for HB 2140 is the governor’s desk for approval.
As noted above, HB 2140 consolidates several currently independent agencies into the Office of State Finance (OSF).  The agencies consolidated into the new OSF include: Department of Central Services, Office of Personnel Management, Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma State Employees Benefit Council, and Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board.
The bill requires that by no later than December 31, 2011, the Director of the OSF shall consolidate the functions and demonstrate a 15% overall cost reduction as a result of the consolidation.
To determine what a 15% cost reduction from consolidation would be, House Fiscal Staff analysts gathered operating budgets from each of the agencies listed above including the OSF.  Taking into account state appropriations, federal dollars, and revolving funds as revenue sources, House Fiscal Staff determined the combined operating budgets of the agencies above to be $147,826,230.  Assuming a 15% cost savings from consolidation of the above agencies based on their total operating budget figure, the dollar amount of the cost savings from consolidation would be $22,173,934.
Where the specific cost savings will come from in the consolidation is left to the discretion of the Director of OSF who shall provide recommendations to the Legislature.

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