As we swear in our political officials, I listen carefully to their plans for the future of our state and country. I hear lots of grandiose schemes and even more cliche's promising to "work together toward our common goals." I still don't know what they have for goals beyond getting re-elected.
Formulated during the last campaign, a real plan to move our state forward fell on deaf ears. The cornerstone is an easy solution to part of the spending problem in Rhode Island government. Direct every state department and agency head to reduce their budget by 5 percent through attrition and removal of redundancies, wasteful spending, and fraud. Buy cheaper toilet paper. Negotiate better service contracts. Turn the heat down by a couple of degrees. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. I really don't care how it gets done.
Give each manager 60 days to accomplish this goal or have a valid plan in place to accomplish the goal within 120 days. If, at the end of 60 days, the cuts have not been made or no valid plan is in place, start cutting staff and salaries from the top down. Five percent of our state budget is $400 million. It won't solve all our problems, but it's a good start.
In the private sector these types of decisions are made every day.