States fit tech into strained budgets
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 28, 2003
INPUT: Projects Continue Despite Budget Strain
As a sluggish economy and revenue shortfalls continue to plague state government
budgets, many governors are deciding how best to use limited funds for competing
priorities — and some are looking at technology as one answer.
Chantilly, Va.-based Input, a market research firm, released a report
today outlining how three states are grappling with funding their programs
and how they're planning to use technology.
California Gov. Gray Davis' administration probably faces one of the
largest deficits in the country — about $34 billion. A state resolution
has shifted responsibility for some programs, such as mental health services
and child and family programs, to the county level, saving the state government
about $8 billion.
Yet Davis is still making cuts as evenly as possible across agencies
instead of focusing drastic cuts in a few areas. And homeland security,
education and health care will continue to be funded well. Some upcoming
state information technology projects include:
* An information security program by the Office of Statewide Health
Planning and Development.
* An automated child support enforcement system by the Department of
* The design, construction and testing of an enhanced 911 system using
In Virginia, Gov. Mark Warner is "right-sizing" government by streamlining
agencies, the report said. For example, newly proposed legislation would
create a single IT agency and eliminate three existing IT-focused agencies
and two boards. Goals also include a statewide plan for network security
and streamlining external processes such as IT procurement and e-government.
As part of Virginia's homeland security initiative, plans are under
way for an incident management system to connect first responders to state
Other upcoming projects for Virginia, which is facing a $1.5 billion
budget shortfall, include:
* Server consolidation services to provide backup for operations and
disaster recovery services.
* An electronic archive system to compile state police records, such
as fingerprints and arrest records.
* Vulnerability assessment services for the eventual certification of
a local-area/wide-area network.
New Jersey faces the largest budget deficit in its history — about
$5 billion — and Gov. James McGreevey is cutting spending and adding revenue.
Some top investments include $66 million for new homeland security initiatives,
including support of the state Office of Counter-Terrorism. At least $25
million will be reserved for a more effective emergency communications system
for hospitals and other first responders and another $3.5 million for a
hospital bioterrorism preparation program, the report said.
Other upcoming New Jersey technology initiatives include:
* Wired telecommunications equipment, including call management and
voice messaging systems, for all state agencies.
* Installation and maintenance of an automated child support enforcement
* Design, implementation and testing of an enhanced 911 network.