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Making Government Better, Faster and Simpler

Filed under: Uncategorized


First term Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (Democrat), is focusing his administration on streamlining government operations. A worthy cause in my opinion and one that can be done at all levels of government. Some of the items Dayton is looking at according to a StarTribune news article are:

– eliminating wasteful, redundant or antiquated laws by slashing Minnesota’s 15,000 pages of laws by one-third.
– making citizen interaction with state government more efficient and satisfying. Such as simpler state tax forms for individuals, faster permitting for businesses, less paperwork for teachers.

To further this ambitious effort Dayton gathered 1,000 state government managers encouraging them to think boldly about ways to improve processes, saving staff time and money. Dayton’s Chief of Staff meets with the 100 top managers in state government every few months to find ways to improve operations that reach into every corner of government.

“If I could wave a magic wand and eliminate all this duplication, redundancy, excessive paperwork and reporting, that would do more to restore citizens’ faith in government than just about anything else I can think of,” Dayton said in an interview with the Star Tribune.

Some of the successful improvements made in Minnesota include:

– slashing admission time at the Minneapolis Veterans Homes
– cutting the time it takes for vehicle registration from 90 days to 10
– cutting the waiting time for some permits by 40%
– A special education manual at the state Department of Education that had topped out at 279 pages got whittled to 16
– Overhauling its check processing system netted the state revenue department $1 million
– Tighter management of grants is saving $10 million every year
– Putting a premium on energy-efficient buildings is saving nearly $8 million a year.

I wish more elected officials would focus on the nitty gritty of making government better, faster and simpler in ways that are measurable.Many government employees have ideas on how to improve the bureaucracy that they have to live with every day. Rarely does an elected leader make it a priority to solicit and encourage new ideas.

What do you think about Governor Dayton’s efforts?

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Improving government efficiency and focusing on nuts and bolts issues is hard work and is not very exciting or glamorous. The right has developed a strategy of attacking government at every turn and making government work would only undermine that effort. Grandstanding and bomb throwing are much easier and play to the base interests that feed on style over substance.

    • jimd54

      Could not agree more. Everybody should be able to agree things can run more efficiently. However as you said many people feel if something does not work that well it should be eliminated. Cutting is easy, fixing is the hard part.

  • rhmaccallum

    “- eliminating wasteful, redundant or antiquated laws by slashing Minnesota’s 15,000 pages of laws by one-third.”
    Excellent! I remember one governor of NYS that appointed a paperwork reduction committee. All my department ever got from them was a 200 page questioner.
    Efficiency? Efficiency is good…I think. Sometimes.
    The problem with efficiency though is that more often than not things deemed efficient are so called because they reduce labor-hours. Takes less time and less people to do the same job so it must be efficient. But then those man-hours are not replaced anywhere by this new efficiency. We made the process more efficient but we eliminated the ability of people to support themselves, survive and thrive…which is after all the whole purpose of having an economy to begin with.
    So…sometime efficiency defeats its purpose.