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Gov. Walker Touts Millions in State Savings

Report: investigations of DHS public assistance program, elimination of collective bargaining have saved millions in 2012.

Wisconsin's state government has saved millions of dollars so far in 2012 following cutbacks in overtime pay and cracking down on food assistance "fraud," according to a new report.

In a press release Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker touted these savings detailed in a state task force report, and he cited the state's commitment to "reducing waste," putting the issue in financial terms.

"We are continuously looking for ways to reduce waste in government," Walker said. "Suggestions from state employees and citizens are a huge help, they help taxpayers get a better return on their investment from the state.  Every dollar saved we can invest back into our local communities or return to taxpayers."

The report reviews a move by Walker last fall to centralize fraud investigation efforts in the Department of Health Services, namely with regard to the FoodShare public assistance program.

According to the report, fraud investigations of that program's participants by the new Office of the Inspector General led to nearly $2.7 million in "cost avoidance" and over $1.7 million in recouped payments between March and June 2012.

Over that period, 1,482 investigations were completed, and 49 people were suspended from the program.

The report also detailed efforts to cut down on overtime costs within 24-hour state institutions, namely the Department of Corrections and the Division of Community Corrections.

Following the elimination of collective bargaining rights, the report says, the DCC saw overtime costs decrease by 89.5 percent.

Compared to last year, the DOC saw a $2.1 million savings during the first quarter of 2012, and another $636,000 in May 2012 compared to the same month last year, in just one division.

Going paperless, the "Lean" government initiative and reducing "unnecessary reporting requirements" for businesses were also discussed in the report, which was produced by the Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Elimination Task Force.

This report is part of a new system through which citizens and state employees can suggest cost-saving strategies through the state's Best Practices website. The task force then suggests how strategies could be implemented.

Randy1949 August 01, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Brand loyalty, JRH. The Peugeot 403 won my father's heart back in 1961, when frankly all Detroit had to offer were tailfins and low gas mileage. He never drove anything else from then on. The 404s were good cars too, but the subsequent models were quirky, to say the least. My dad would always find me a deal on a ten year old Peugeot of whatever model. I think it was the 504s that were so overpowered and light in the rear end that they had no traction at all in snow. That's when I'd had enough and began to pick out my own cars. In case you're wondering, I drive a Jeep, and I was actually in Uptown motors to check out Jeeps. My father was trying to talk me into an Eagle Talon at the time, but no way. I don't need a sports car. My vehicle needs to haul cargo and get me through snow.
Greg August 01, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Slashing K-12 education? Prove it or give it up.
Bren August 01, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Greg, the 2011-2013 budget included an $800 million cut to K-12 education. It was in all the media, were you hiding in your man-cave? ; ) What a great idea that was, too. Kids without education can be paid less. Of course, the amount of taxes they can pay on lower wages will be less too, and there might be more children in need of BadgerCare and food assistance but that's not my problem. Poverty is a lifestyle choice as you well know. Scott Walker '14!
Greg August 02, 2012 at 05:55 PM
But the Act 10 reforms more than made up for the $800 million, so the net result was an increase in K-12 funding. Bren, it is obvious, from all of your posts, that you don't understand math, so you may want to refrain from these type of comments. "What a great idea that was, too. Kids without education can be paid less." The test results are in from your favored Doyle/Barrett administrations, they are not good. If you care about education you should be welcoming any type of reforms. And your, keep the people down, theory is just plain wrong. Your anger clouds your thinking. I don't like President Obama, but I can be rational in discussions about his policy.
James R Hoffa August 02, 2012 at 05:59 PM
@Randy1949 - The AMC/Chrysler 4.0L push-rod inline six is a bullet-proof legendary work horse!

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