Bartlett Supports Re-structuring State Government

06/23/10 7:34AM By Bob Kinzel
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(Host) Democratic gubernatorial candidate Susan Bartlett says it's critical to restructure all of state government along the lines of the recently passed Challenges for Change bill.

Bartlett says developing an outcomes based approach to the state budget is one way to improve government services without raising new taxes.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports

(Kinzel) As chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations committee, Susan Bartlett played a key role in the drafting of next year's budget.  As part of the process, Bartlett became a strong supporter of the so called "Challenges for Change" bill.

It's legislation that reduced state spending by roughly $30 million by implementing a system of outcome based standards for a number of state programs. 

Backers of this approach said it was a positive way to deliver essential services without making serious budget cuts. Critics said the bill was all fluff and no substance and they argued that the legislation would hurt people who rely on state services.

Senator Bartlett is one of the five Democrats running for Governor this year. Speaking on VPR, she said the "Challenges" approach is a central part of her campaign:

(Bartlett) "I'm not afraid to say this is what we need to do we need to change how we are delivering services we can't keep doing things the same way there needs to be a significant structural change this isn't about efficiencies this is about significant structural change and that's not popular because that's scary."

(Kinzel) Bartlett says performance standards need to be established for all programs to be certain that state revenues are being targeted in the most effective way:

(Bartlett) "We might be spending a lot of money on child abuse but if we aren't measuring to know if we're really making progress in preventing child abuse then we may be spending a lot of money but not getting the results with the goal with this would here are the outcomes you're going to measure them so you're going to know if you're making progress and if you're aren't masking progress then you can change the strategy."

(Kinzel) Bartlett acknowledges that two of her opponents, senators Doug Racine and Peter Shumlin also voted for the "Challenges Bill," but she says they don't share her enthusiasm for the legislation:

(Bartlett) "But if you listen to them talking about it, it's a different approach I believe."

(Kinzel) Bartlett says she also supports imposing performance based standards on hundreds of independent contracts that the state authorizes every year.

For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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