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Idaho governor creates group to cut state inefficiencies

Brad Little, governor of Idaho. File photo.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Thursday issued an executive order forming a working group to find ways to cut inefficiencies in state government.

Little announced the creation of the Regional Government Efficiency Working Group and named Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, also a Republican, as the chair.

The group has another 13 members appointed by Little. They include Republican Sen. Mark Harris and Republican Rep. Judy Boyle. Three members are coming from Little’s administration, including Division of Financial Management Administrator Alex Adams.

Another seven regional members and an at-large member round out the group. All but one of them has been appointed.

Little said government tends to grow during times of prosperity, but that Idaho needs to be proactive in preparing for the next economic downturn.

During the Great Recession that began in late 2007, Idaho’s general fund shrank nearly 30 percent, Little noted, leading to deep cuts in state government.

“This is using a scalpel early versus a cleaver during a time of slowdown,” he said. “That’s what this is all about.”

Little and McGeachin didn’t have specific examples of inefficiencies, but they said that’s what the working group will investigate.

“I share Gov. Little’s vision for fiscal responsibility in the state of Idaho to make sure that we’re doing all that we can to protect and preserve the taxpayer dollars and provide the level of service to the citizens that we all deserve,” McGeachin said.

The executive order says the working group will remain in place for at least 18 months and make recommendations to the governor. Final action is solely up to Little.

It’s Little’s third executive order, and the other two issued in January also have to do with limiting or reducing government.

The Red Tape Reduction Act requires state agencies to cut two rules for every new one. The Licensing Freedom Act makes it easier to obtain occupational licenses.

On another front, Little has a unique and unfettered chance to cut about 8,200 state administrative rules without public or lawmaker oversight after the Legislature killed a bill reauthorizing those rules earlier this month. Whatever Little doesn’t choose to keep will expire this summer.

Little has said he’s not looking at it as an opportunity to do mischief, but he instead wants to minimize the impact on the state and the public.

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