Gov. Perdue announced that she has been “talking, thinking, working” on plans to consolidate state agencies and sell state assets to help deal with the $3 billion plus structural deficit facing next year’s state budget.
But it seems these plans will conveniently be kept hush-hush until after the November elections.
The governor declined to go into specifics, saying she doesn’t want to politicize any proposals before the election. Still, she said the overall goal is to transform state government.
Translation: she doesn’t want to upset the powerful state employee unions with any specifics on how her plans may shed state workers until after the election. Wouldn’t want to jeopardize those campaign contributions.
As to selling state assets, there is a lot of potential for savings there. According to this 2008 Fiscal Research report, the state owns more than 11,800 buildings and more than 8,500 parcels of land. By comparison, the largest publicly-traded office management firm in the nation owns only 300 office buildings.
The state government assets, as of the 2008 report, had an insurance value of $6.2 billion. Selling some of the least essential assets could both reap a substantial windfall now, but also relieve some of the long term maintenance funding of said assets. This N&O story shows just how difficult and expensive it can be to maintain a growing number of state-owned buildings.
Perdue has been paying some lip-service to making some much-needed reforms to state government spending, but given her track record I remain skeptical.