Albany, N.Y.—Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) will chair the state Senate Task Force on Government Efficiency and lead renewed efforts to uncover waste, inefficiency and mismanagement throughout the state bureaucracy.
The new appointment was made by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. The nine-member, bipartisan task force will be co-chaired by downstate Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester). Other senators serving on the task force are: David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange), Joseph A. Griffo (R-Rome), Betty Little (R-Queensbury), Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola), Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton), Diane J. Savino (D-Staten Island), and David Valesky (D-Oneida).
[see Corning Leader story attached below and, for more information, Listen Here to Senator O'Mara's September 21st interview with WHCU radio in Ithaca]
Skelos said: “As we continue to shrink government spending and reduce taxes, it’s critically important that we uncover and stop any and all waste, excess and abuse of taxpayer dollars. This bipartisan task force, led by Senators O’Mara and Klein, will spearhead this effort in the Senate.”
“Government spending is New York’s number one reform challenge. If we can’t get our own house in order, we can’t cut taxes for working families, create a better business climate for employers to create jobs, or do the thousand other things it takes to turn this state around. It all starts with getting government spending under control,” said O’Mara. “We’ve long suspected that out-of-control and out-of-touch spending has undermined the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the state bureaucracy. But it’s time to do something about it. I can’t do enough to encourage this focus to root out the waste, inefficiencies and mismanagement that have clearly taken hold of state government in too many places and across too many operations.”
O’Mara, who’s serving his first year in the Senate after three consecutive terms as a state assemblyman, is a longtime spending reform advocate. He’s the former chairman of the Assembly Republican Task Force on Medicaid Waste, Fraud and Abuse.
Klein headed the task force when it was first established in early 2010. During his tenure, the group uncovered more than $312 million in questionable spending and potential savings. Additionally, they proposed reforms to crack down on overtime abuses, develop new accountability standards for outside contractors, review the use of state assets, and eliminate duplicative administrative functions.
“The task force worked in a bipartisan fashion at a time when nothing else did in Albany,” Klein said. “I'm proud of our past work and and I look forward to continuing our efforts to shed light on the wasteful practices and structural problems that abound in our state bureaucracy.”
O’Mara said that the Senate’s task force will complement other ongoing efforts to reform New York’s fiscal practices, especially Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, commonly known as the SAGE Commission. SAGE, established earlier this year, is charged with leading the first major overhaul of the state bureaucracy since the late 1920’s.
“We can’t have too many probes into wasteful government spending, mismanaged government programs, or abused government services,” O’Mara said. “I look forward to this opportunity to fully encourage what I believe is the number one government reform effort facing New York. The taxpayers deserve this long-overdue accounting.”