While Mike Easley is finding creative ways to give our tax dollars away to corporate interests and a growing dependent class, Indiana’s Mitch Daniels is making his state formidible again:
Government is “the last monopoly,” he said, and it “lacks accountability.” The only way to make it effective is to “implant” a system of accountability to measure and count results as businesses do, because “what gets measured gets done.” For example, Daniels said, a visit to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles—the kind of trip most Americans dread—now has an average wait time of eight minutes and ten seconds, down from over 40 minutes. Customer satisfaction has surged to 97 percent. The fact that Daniels refers to patrons of the bureau as “customers” speaks volumes about his corporate mentality.
During his tenure, Indiana has reduced the number of state employees by 10 percent. This reduction, even with the institution of a pay-for-performance system that provides much larger rewards for good workers, has allowed Daniels to operate with a state payroll that is lower than it was four years ago. Daniels’s emphasis is on “managing for results,” and he is not necessarily against government doing the job. But if the private sector is more capable of administering a project effectively, reducing costs, and operating “at the speed of business, not the speed of government,” he supports privatization. That is why IBM has replaced the state bureaucracy in administering welfare programs—which has saved Indiana roughly $1 billion. Daniels also brought $4 billion to the state by privatizing Indiana’s toll road, and he deregulated the telecommunications industry.
Oh, man, and…
One big project Daniels hopes to finish this year is property tax reform. He plans to offer Indianans immediate relief on property taxes by using the revenue from an increased sales tax along with part of the state’s $300 million budget surplus, and he hopes to put a permanent cap on property taxes starting next year.
I don’t see any serious gubernatorial candidate in North Carolina who has had the chutzpah to propose anything like these kinds of changes, nevermind one who’s promised to deal severely with that rotten General Assembly of ours.