Economic downturn requires tough decisions
Wednesday Gov. Otter announced additional steps to help lead Idaho through an economic downturn that is producing less revenue than initially expected. The measures he outlined will have an impact on every state agency, all state employees and ultimately all of Idaho’s citizens.
The governor has the unenviable task of trying to balance the state’s budget during extraordinarily difficult times. His goal is to bring stability by eliminating all spending that isn’t absolutely necessary while maintaining government services. We fully support his efforts and are doing everything possible to ensure the transportation department operates efficiently.
Earlier in the week, Governor Otter asked the state’s general-fund agencies to cut an additional 2 percent from their budgets. Combined with an earlier 1 percent holdback, that translates to about $130 million in spending reductions. Wednesday he also asked us to reduce administrative expenses at ITD by 6 percent.
We are identifying steps that we can take to meet or exceed that reduction and expect to present our plan to the governor’s office by Monday.
Speaking for Governor Otter at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho’s annual conference Wednesday, chief of staff Jason Kreizenbeck also announced plans for another independent review of ITD. Governor Otter will ask a group of executives from some of Idaho’s top-performing businesses to look at how ITD operates and make recommendations for improvement.
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently concluded an extensive review and the Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations will conclude its review soon.
Our collective vision for ITD is to become a national leader in the transportation industry. To accomplish that, we will compare ourselves to businesses, other transportation organizations and other state agencies. We will identify and embrace the best practices of both the public and private sector.
There is no doubt the current economic downturn is having a profound impact on the way we do business at ITD. It affects every agency in Idaho, transportation departments throughout the country and federal government, just as it affects most American families. But I am convinced that we will emerge stronger and healthier because of the testing.
I am proud of ITD and the work that we are doing. I have met with many groups over the past two weeks to cover the Peer review report, and to discuss highlights of our upcoming efficiency report, as well as the shifts in personnel out to front line service that we are all working on now. The feedback I have received from the public, legislators and business and industry has been extremely positive, and they are impressed with what you are doing.
Thank you for your continued support as we move forward together.