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Gov. Wolf’s Fiscal Accountability Program Readies For Phase Two

Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to save $150 million in state money by this fiscal year has exceeded its goal, netting a total of $156 million in efficiencies.

Now the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency has a new, more ambitious plan for the next three years. GO-TIME is aiming to increase those efficiencies to $500 million by fiscal year 2020.

GO-TIME Director Sharon Ward said much of the money saved will come from 154 programs that were already part of the initial initiative.

But she said there will also be about 80 new projects as well, noting that they involve finding novel ways to cut down on spending.  

“We’ve got some big dollar projects—a lot of them have to do with the things that state government buys,” she said. “So the Department of General Services has saved about almost $69 million this year on everything from road salt to trucks to printer ink.”

Ward said employee suggestions have been a boon in the process. Going forward, she said GO-TIME will use a system that lets state workers at all levels submit money-saving ideas. 

She also said the team will be building on what it learned in the last year.

“We have realized that in order to save money, you have to spend money,” she said. “So the savings figure we have is actually a net figure. We are investing in technology because that is going to result in faster processing times, better customer service, and also save money.”

Despite GO-TIME savings, state budget costs increased overall. The bump is due in part to new federal overtime regulations.

However, Governor Wolf said without the GO-TIME program, costs would have been even higher.