Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gov. Corbett's "Innovations"

Guv's office releases "innovative" savings list; which seems a little short and soft.

Gov. Corbett's "Innovations"

Gov. Corbett
Gov. Corbett

Lest you think all news out of the Corbett administration is bad -- as in getting hammered nationally for suing the NCAA over Penn State sanctions (as he was in Friday's New York Times editorial) -- his office Thursday released, um, evidence of just how good things are really going.

Something called the Governor's Innovation Office put out a press release claiming that since its creation last March it has achieved "more than $84 million in cost savings and productivity gains."

Good, right? Savings are good. Productivity gains are good.

It's just that the only examples offered seem a tad soft and, well, smallish.

The release cites three highlights.

1) "An estimated $1.4 million" in savings from consolidation licensing operations in the Welfare Department.

2) Consolidated mail operations at Labor & Industry "expects to save $400,000."

3) State Police using "communication technology" to reduce troop meetings and therefore fuel costs leads to "estimates" of saving $10,000.

Maybe it's me, but these "innovations" seem sorta obvious, as in representing the kinds of things government should do as a matter of routine, and as in being estimates and expectations rather than take-it-to-bank money.

Also, the "highights" of saving "more than $84 million" total just $1.5 million.

Maybe that's because if you go into the website's (www.innovation.pa.gov) "success stories" you find stuff like big savings at the Liqour Control Board through better staff-scheduling at State Stores which, of course, Corbett wants to do away with.

Still, savings anywhere are good. And I'm betting citizens have some ideas on more savings. (There's a place on the Website to offer same). And, look, any money saved can go to paying what's certain to be huge legal fees to outside counsel for that NCAA litigation.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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