Smith detailed the Dayton Administration’s approach to building a better government for a better Minnesota, saying that the effort is changing the way that state government does business.
Smith also unveiled a new website that will provide a place for Minnesotans to track the progress of reforms taking place in state government. Information on both current and future reform efforts can be found at http://mn.gov/governor/initiatives/better-government.
Over the last ten months, every state agency has taken steps to improve their operations and today Commissioner Lucinda Jesson highlighted the results achieved through the Department of Human Services’ effort to reform how the state buys health care in order to get quality care at a better price.
Smith sat down with Politics in Minnesota on Tuesday and previewed the administration's plans to improve the way the state of Minnesota does business.
Politics in Minnesota: Government reform: Dayton’s turn
Capitol Report: How long has the administration been looking at government reform ideas? Is this something that was in process during session? Or was there a point in time after session where you said: “OK, we’re going to dive into this?”
Tina Smith: On the day the governor was inaugurated, he laid out three key priorities for his administration. And the first was to get Minnesota working again, really a focus on jobs. He talked about creating a tax system that was fair. And the third that he talked about on the very first day at his speech at the Landmark Center was building a better government for a better Minnesota. Really making government work again. From the very beginning, actually before we were in office, he asked me to make sure that that happened. We don’t see this as a separate initiative. We see this as baking into the DNA of everything that we do in running the executive branch. But it’s been there since the very beginning.
Capitol Report: Can you outline some specific reform ideas that you’ve been looking at and that we might see come to light in the near future?
Tina Smith: We’re calling this Better Government for a Better Minnesota. Our goal is to save money, reduce waste and deliver better services for Minnesotans. If you think about it, you think about it in two different ways. One is what do we need to do to reform the programs and the policies that we have in state government so they work better for people. So for example, how do we need to deliver health care so we’re delivering health and not sickness? How do we need to reform the way we do education policy so that we are focusing on kids and not adults? There’s a whole range of reforms that we’re working on in that arena.
It started with the competitive bidding, changing the way that the state is purchasing health care, that Commissioner [Lucinda] Jesson laid out in March. In fact, later this week or the beginning of next week, we’ll have sort of an updated report on what we’ve gotten out of that competitive bidding process, which is really transforming the way the state is buying and paying for health care so that it is focused on outcomes and not paying for procedures.