Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reducing the State budget deficit: eight suggestions

Just thinking about this issue like Governor Markell asked everybody to do.

I haven't costed them out, but the least significant would save several millions of dollars:

1. Eliminate the Secretary of Homeland Security position and fold its security responsibilities into the State Police and its disaster responsibilities into DEMA. There is not the slightest bit of evidence that the proliferation of staffs and offices has made us one whit safer or improved interagency coordination.

2. Eliminate the DSTP. Jack promised to do this, anyway.

3. Commute the sentences of non-violent, non-dealing drug offenders, and follow up by decriminalizing at least personal marijuana use.

4. Increase the mandatory replacement age for school buses by three years.

5. Close the Delaware Psychiatric Center and pay the cost to send our patients to the comparable institutions in Pennsylvania, Maryland, or New Jersey.

6. Program EZ Pass on Rt 1 to charge vehicles registered out of state a 15% surcharge over the regular toll rates.

7. Require Delaware institutions of higher education to write off the in-state tuition costs of SEED students as a requirement for receiving State funding, instead of budgeting the money to pay their tuitions.

8. Create an incentive program for early retirement of State employees with more than 25 years of service.

12 comments:

City Upon The Hill said...

9. Stop giving away state money to planned parenthood.

Brian Shields said...

They already raised the weekend tolls on rt one. They're getting tagged for $4 each trip for 50 miles of road.

I would think that it would have a negative effect on tourism, although very little, but something that blatant and hidden would cause them to go to the Jersey Shore instead..

kavips said...

It's a start. Thanks.

Steve Newton said...

kavips!

Where have you been? I was beginning to worry.

Anonymous said...

#9 Evaluate the cost of cancelling the 2.2 million dollar/year lease on that double huey helicopter that no one can pilot, and sits warehoused. Maybe we should have given Dave Mitchell a ride out of town in it.

Anonymous said...

The state offered the early retirement package in the early 80's and got killed by it.they expected a certain number to retire and nearly 2x that did. the biggest issue now is that probably 40% of state employees are at retirement levels. i am more for laying off the redundant positions and to begin melding services onder one umbrella.

Hube said...

Anon 6:49 -- are you sure that wasn't the early 90s? Specifically, 1991? 'Cuz that's when I got my teaching job as many of those who took the early out were teachers.

I'm not aware of one in the early 80s ...

Anonymous said...

sorry, typo.

Steve Newton said...

Hube
You're right about the timing.

The problem with that package was that the State actually "gave away the store" in creating a package so tempting and available to so many people that they got rooked. Probably comes of having too many State employees in the legislature.

Other States, however, have managed to do this and do it right.

Kilroy said...

"Eliminate the DSTP. Jack promised to do this, anyway."

Can't eliminate just change it's name! As long as NCLB required testing there will be a testing program. However, DSTP was hatched by the same business folks assoicated with Rodel/Vision 2015. It was rolled out Spring 1998 after a few years development and prior to NCLB 2000.

Delaware has been approved for the Growth Model Plan to messure AYP.

DSTP Godfather John Tanner former Director of Delaware DOE Assessment in conjunction with Harcourt Assessment developed DSTP. Tanner bailed on DOE and because regional VP for Harcourt and have been dinning certain key legislators in effort to provide next text! However, Obama has concerns about teaching to the test and may revise goal. NCLB was up for reauthorization 2008 and like the delay of ESEA reauthorization that reauthorization was delayed until the new president took office.

So, changes in NCLB relieving school of harsh consequences will be politically played by local politicians such as Jack Markell as if it was his doing! But old Kilroy is keeping tabs and will slam the fools during next election.

Markell is boxed in a corner with pressure from Rodel and Skipper to deliver Vision 2015. Rodel should have invested in a Rodel Center for Learning in Wilmington with a charter component and continuing ed programming for parents in addition to providing space for open public educational seminars. In another walk the talk and should us how it’s done. Piggy-backing off of existing successful program will give Vision 2015 skewed results as Vision 2015 is not a stand alone program.

DSTP Godfather John Tanner former Director of Delaware DOE Assessment in conjunction with Harcourt Assessment developed DSTP. Tanner bailed on DOE and because regional VP for Harcourt and have been dinning certain key legislators in effort to provide next text! However, Obama has concerns about teaching to the test and may revise goal. NCLB was up for reauthorization 2008 and like the delay of ESEA reauthorization that reauthorization was delayed until the new president took office.

So, changes in NCLB relieving school of harsh consequences will be politically played by local politicians such as Jack Markell as if it was his doing! But old Kilroy is keeping tabs and will slam the fools during next election.

Markell is boxed in a corner with pressure from Rodel and Skipper to deliver Vision 2015. Rodel should have invested in a Rodel Center for Learning in Wilmington with a charter component and continuing ed programming for parents in addition to providing space for open public educational seminars. In another walk the talk and should us how it’s done. Piggy-backing off of existing successful program will give Vision 2015 skewed results as Vision 2015 is not a stand alone program.

Markell can better serve the education community by making an executive order ordering full financial transparency of Delaware public schools and DOE. You know I had to get that in!

Steve Newton said...

Kliroy,
Believe it or not, as the original co-chair of the Social Studies Curriculum Frameworks Commission from 1992-1995 I was very involved at least around the edges on the development and roll-out of the DSTP--worked and argued with John Tanner on a regular basis, for example.

I could tell amazing stories of that time.

DSTP can be eliminated and still meet NCLB requirements, as long as we move to off-the-shelf nationally normed testing, which has the advantage of being about five million bucks cheaper.

Maybe some day I will be in a position to dish dirt and details behind the DSTP, but for family reasons that you have figured out, I cannot afford to do so now.

Anonymous said...

No, we are not sending our DPC brothers/sisters to other states. They can apply for a Medicaid Waiver and get federal funds to place those folks in group homes. Here are some statistics you should know. It costs $865 ADAy to house someone at Stockley, thats about $350,000 a year. A group home in the community averages $100,000. Its costs $10./hr for a direct care worker in community based services, its cost almost $30,000 for one at Stockely. I am sure those folks at DPC are making about the same. Look at the savings that could be had just by going to community based programs.

There are 100,000 disabled citizens in Delaware. The State has never properly funded any of these programs. If you count the 100,000 x the parents, siblings, grandparents, + the staff and their families, we are talking about a HUGE voting block.

Its a fact: the State receives 64% of Medicaid dollars and puts in 35% to cover the cost of our disabled. Its too damn bad the wealthiest state in the nation is so cheap they cant come up with 35%
The medicaid dollars we receive are determined by the feds. The figure is based on how many wealthy families there are in the State. In Mississippi, the federal dollars are around 70% of the budget with Mississipi kicking in 30%, yet Delaware is 47th in the nation in the services its provides...Thank God for Mississipi.
Problem is those on the JFC, and the legislature havent a clue about federal dollars, or the fact that rules/regulations accompany those funds. There are so many new people on the JFC, they havent a clue about diabilities, the Federal Laws that govern these programs, or the fact they are a "protected class". Now the dimwits with no knowledge whatsover are talking about cutting the most severe in the community programs which are 3 times less expensive than State insitutions. They would destroy programs that have served this state on the CHEAP for decades. Never did the state fund these programs even in the best of economic times. Some dimwits from Sussex talk about re-institutionalizing these folks...let them try that. We will throw the Olmstead (federal) decision in their face so fast they will get a clue real quick.

We could effectively stop all the medicaid dollars from flowing to this State....how do ya like me now assholes! Am already in touch with the Public Integrity Law Center in Phila, just in case the dimwits overstep federal law even a little bit.

Why are the State workers exempt from layoffs? If corporations are forced to layoff, what prevents the lawmakers from getting rid of the dead wood in State workers. Surely there are duplications of jobs there. Get rid of the Film Commission, Tourism Board, PUblic Advocate, put the Div. of Public Health under Health and Social Services. With those of us who have made some obvious cuts right here on this blog....we just solved the deficit.

liz