Nebraska efficiency review will ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely

Nebraskans work hard to pay their bills, support their families, and pay their taxes.  Thats why elected officials like myself have a solemn obligation to be good stewards of their tax dollars and do everything possible to ensure that government programs are run responsibly, efficiently, and with as little waste as possible.  And thats why I introduced LB 684 this past legislative session.

LB 684 would require Nebraska to hire an outside, independent firm to conduct an efficiency review of state government.  This review would apply to all agencies, and would result in a compilation of recommendations for providing the same or better government services, but at a lower taxpayer cost.  In essence, it would ensure that state government provides citizens the most bang for their hard earned tax dollars.

We should always be looking for ways to create efficiencies and save the taxpayer money.  This belief is buttressed by an examination of our state spending.  According to one source, we are 14th highest in state spending per GDP.  Our spending per capita is average at best.  There is room for improvement, and we must seek that improvement.

Successful businesses do everything possible to maximize efficiency, including hiring consultants.  These outside experts can help them streamline their businesses, improve output, and lower costs, i.e., improve overall efficiency.  And when your ‘business’ is government, and is funded by Nebraska tax dollars, efficiency should be of paramount importance. 

Other states have conducted similar efficiency reviews, and the results are intriguing.  An efficiency review of Kansas state government in 2015 cost about $3 million, and identified potential savings of over $2 billion.  It has been reported that the state saved $47 million in the 2017 budget, and $89 million in the 2019 budget by implementing some of the recommendations.  A Louisiana review cost $7 million, and reportedly has yielded actual savings of $145 million.  A Wyoming review identified $200-$250 million in savings from their roughly $2.7 billion budget.

Some in the efficiency review industry suggest that the average identified savings generally range in the area of 4-6% of a state’s budget.  For Nebraska, this would suggest identified savings might range in the area of $250-$350 million.

So where are we on an efficiency review of Nebraska state government?   Thanks to the support of Governor Jim Pillen, the Appropriation Committee led by Chairman Clements, and Senator Armendariz who prioritized the bill, the provisions of LB 684 were incorporated into LB 814, the mainline budget bill.  LB 814 was adopted on final reading on May 16, and signed into law by Governor Pillen on XXXX.  Under LB 814, $2.5 million has been set aside to fund an efficiency review of Nebraska state government by an entity generally tasked with “recommend[ing] and support[ing] strategies that reduce costs while improving quality, with a target of 25% improvement overall” across state programs.

As stewards of our taxpayer’s hard earned dollars, we must never settle for the status quo.  We have an obligation to do everything possible to ensure their dollars are spent wisely and effectively.  And the efficiency review that will be undertaken is one tool that can help us meet that obligation.

  • Charles Isom
  • Director of Communications
  • 402-471-8884