Fortunato proposal to find government waste signed by governor

State employees eligible for bonuses while saving taxpayer money

Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Phil Fortunato that aims to find government waste was signed today in a ceremony with the governor.

Senate Bill 5015 reestablishes the state Productivity Board, which is tasked with creating financial incentives and awarding state employees who find government waste. The program was disbanded in 2011 as a cost savings measure, but as Fortunato points out, the initial cost far outweighed by potential savings.

“Politicians talk about cutting government waste, but the question is, how to find it?” said Fortunato, R-Auburn. “State employees have the potential to save taxpayers much more in recurring costs than what we’re appropriating as potential bonuses for finding efficiencies.”

Fortunato believes this effort can save taxpayers 10 times more than the cost of the program. With a biennial operating budget now near $70 billion, there are many that need this kind of oversight from frontline workers.

Under the new law, the Productivity Board should be operational by July 2025 or sooner. The board would be required to evaluate the potential savings of a proposal and develop a list of possible productivity awards to be distributed to state employees, who could receive up to $10,000 or 10% of savings, whichever is lower.

“State workers know firsthand the inefficiencies in the programs the Legislature or state government creates. Now they will have more incentives to make the best use of those tax dollars,” Fortunato said. “State employees are taxpayers, too.”

The proposal was approved unanimously by the Legislature and goes into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns on April 23.