Such a move would save an
estimated $125 million during the upcoming fiscal year. If the
changes are implemented before the end of March, more than $30
million could be saved during the current fiscal year.
"These cuts reflect this
administration's priority when it comes to fiscal planning and
budgeting," he said.
"Our goal and my commitment is
to cut spending first," he said.
Blagojevich said that the kinds
of areas where department heads could look for savings could include
-- among others -- office space, computers, vehicles, supplies or
In addition, the governor said
that he would initiate steps to carefully scrutinize whether
additional pools of money should be spent during the current 2003
The governor said that he is
directing agencies and departments to reserve approximately 8
percent of their operations budget for fiscal 2003. Likewise,
agencies administering state grants will be directed to put on hold
5 percent of those funds, while 10 percent in capital improvement
funds would be reserved during the rest of the current fiscal year.
Grants that are in the areas of
K-12 education, health care and public safety will be exempt from
By placing such funds -- which
could total nearly $1.7 billion -- in reserve, the prospective
spending will undergo a through review to examine the need for and
value of such expenditures.
"We will determine which
services, programs and personnel are essential to serve the needs of
the people and which serve only a political need or are the result
of spending that has gone on unchecked, unjustified and unquestioned
for too long," Blagojevich said.
Upon taking office in January,
Blagojevich inherited a deficit of nearly $5 billion, the largest
deficit in state history.
[to top of second column in
As evidence of the
opportunities to find savings in the state agencies' administrative
budgets, the governor gave a list of examples of wasteful spending
that his administration had found since taking office. Among them
were the following:
--One state agency, Central
Management Services, has more than three receptionists at one
office, yet none of them has contact with anyone who is not a state
--At the Bureau of the Budget,
a large administrative staff is on hand to write phone messages on
paper because the office does not have voice mail.
--The state's current cellular
phone contract costs 11 cents per minute, but the same company,
Verizon, is now advertising a rate three times cheaper.
--Prior to taking office, the
governor's transition team learned from a senior manager at the
Department of Corrections that in an organization with 12 layers of
bureaucracy, seven of them were extraneous, adding no value to state
--The state pays an Iowa-based
firm $600,000 each year to administer $1.2 million worth of grant
funds from the Drycleaner Environmental Recovery Trust Fund -- an
astounding 50 percent of the amount administered.
"These are just a few examples
of areas where Illinois wasted money because of relying on an old
way of doing business," he said.
The directive to cut
administrative costs is in keeping with the steps toward
consolidation and streamlining of services that have been central
themes of the Blagojevich administration to date.
Since taking office five weeks
ago, Blagojevich has taken several steps to determine whether state
expenditures -- even those that are the result of long-established
spending practices -- are essential, given the state's nearly $5
recent weeks, he has frozen payments for member initiative projects,
imposed a hiring freeze on all agency directors, called for measures
to reduce administrative costs at state universities, prohibited
heads of departments and agencies from acquiring new cars, and
initiated a review of whether the high-paid positions held by term
appointees are essential to the operation of state government. Last
week, he announced the cancellation of costly
lobbying contracts with Washington, D.C.-based firms.
Government News Network