State CIOs work on IT funding alternatives

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"Creative funding"

NAPLES, Fla. — The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) plans to work with state legislative associations to create a model for pushing the use of alternative ways to fund technology projects.

In the next year, NASCIO officials will focus on guidelines for advancing alternative funding methods across all levels of government. They will examine ways to create model legislation to push methods of funding such as bonds, leasing and financing, outsourcing and procurement strategies, said Gerry Wethington, Missouri's CIO and president of NASCIO.

The plans are the next step following a recent survey and brief on alternative funding methods conducted by NASCIO's Corporate Leadership Council intended to provide guidance to CIOs at the state, local and federal levels. Officials also plan to examine and track how officials are using these alternatives and continually update the report, a draft of which was first released in September.

"We want to work with states and offer some technical assistance and capture and catalog those best practices to update the brief," Wethington said, speaking at the Government CIO Summit sponsored by FCW Media Group.

The next element of the alternative funding issue is modifying procurement policies, Wethington said. Once CIOs receive the funding, they should be able to move quickly into the procurement cycle. NASCIO has formed a procurement committee to work on a model guidance.

The alternative funding approaches grew out of a need to fund multiyear, multiple-agency projects under tight budgets, said Mike Langrehr, former CIO of Maryland and vice president for government services at Crestone International Inc. The alternatives should not be a replacement for but an addition to general funds, he said, and CIOs must determine which alternative fits the project.

"You have to find out which specific one works for what it is you want to do," he said.

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