This is the season for state legislative road trips.
Lawmakers use the time when they are not in session to gather information, solicit comments from the public and do some fact-finding on whatever area of government that are tasked with legislating in preparation for drafting bills next session.
An interim House committee looking at ways to downsize government led by Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, just wrapped up a three-day tour across the state Thursday.
The committee heard, among other things, testimony on reducing government regulations for small business owners, replacing the state income tax with an expanded sales tax and removing games from computers used by state workers.
The comments were pretty typical of what you might expect at one of these types of public hearings. They generally covered the same themes. Even testimony in favor of legalizing marijuana would have to be considered pretty standard fare given recent national trends.
But Curtman said one of the best suggestions he heard came from a man who asked whether a formula could be devised to determine the cost-effectiveness of every state expenditure. The formula would determine whether or not the benefit outweighs the cost.
While it’s true that the state, like the federal government, already does some performance assessment of its various programs and operations, more rigorous analysis could and should be done.
Every government program should be rated and scrutinized and if it isn’t found to be cost-effective, it should be modified or eliminated. That’s just common sense.
This type of cost-benefit analysis is done in the business sector every day. But it is not as easy when assessing deeply entrenched government-sponsored bureaucracies. Regardless, the suggestion has merit.
We wish Rep. Curtman luck in figuring out that formula.