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Efficiency Report Recommends 100 Changes To Kansas Government To Save Money

Ervins Strauhmanis, flickr Creative Commons

A new efficiency report includes more than 100 recommendations that could save the state more than $2 billion over five years.

Workers from the company Alvarez and Marsal released their preliminary findings to lawmakers Tuesday. Suggestions for improving efficiency and performance range from hiring more workers in the Department of Revenue to eliminating some health insurance options for state employees.

The chairman of the Senate’s budget committee, Ty Masterson, says they’ll spend much of their time this session considering the recommendations.

“It’s streamlining your processes, it’s cash-flow, it’s all of the above. It’s exciting to know that there’s outside sourcing that validates that this is possible,” Masterson says.

The new efficiency report recommends major changes to state employee health insurance policies in Kansas as a way to save money. One proposal would cut costs by offering only high-deductible health insurance plans to state employees.

Democratic state Rep. Jerry Henry says that could make it harder to attract or keep state employees.

“They’re staying in state employment because the benefits are a little more attractive than they are in the open market, but this will probably push more and more state employees to look for jobs in the private sector,” Henry says.

Masterson, who chairs the budget committee, says he recently switched his family to high-deductible insurance coverage.

“And it was a better plan for my family. I think in these types of situations the consternation comes because they don’t understand it fully,” Masterson says.

A different proposal would shift all school district employees into a single insurance pool administered by the state.

The recommendations come from what is only a preliminary draft of the efficiency report. Lawmakers will receive a final version later in the session. 

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.