TaxWatch says state can save $4 billion-plus, with 135 changesby John Kennedy | September 15th, 2011
Florida TaxWatch, the business-backed public policy group, has come up with more than $4.1 billion in potential state savings — if lawmakers and state government implement 135 cost-cutting recommendations.
Among the highlights: increasing good-behavior gain time for prison inmates, expanding electronic monitoring of criminals, and cutting back on stiff penalties for marijuana and cocaine possession. Reducing Medicaid fraud — which has bedeviled officials at the state and federal levels — could save $223.8 million alone, a TaxWatch cost-saving task force found.
TaxWatch said similar recommendations made since 2009 have saved the state more than $1 billion.
Some of the recommendations appear obvious: urging state agencies to buy generics over name-brand products could save $305 million, the organization said. And some of the ideas show some out-of-the-box thinking: selling ads on some DOT road signs could pull in $75 million, TaxWatch estimated.
Some proposals also carry plenty of controversy. Boosting eligibility requirements for students earning Bright Futures scholarships, eliminating the state’s traditional pension plan, ending the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program for public employees are put in play, but would surely face stiff opposition from some fronts in the Legislature.
The full report is at www.FloridaTaxWatch.org
Tags: Florida TaxWatch