How Are Your Taxpayer Dollars Being Managed?

emily-snl-badge-02-300x300Do you ever wonder where our taxpayer dollars are going? Sometimes, it seems like our money is being invested in the newest trends of government instead of addressing reoccurring issues, such as fixing those bumpy highways we all know. It is hard to manage citizens’ wants and desires while maintaining a positive cost benefit environment in government. That’s why it is important to constantly evaluate how we can better manage government’s budget.

State governments play a big role in managing government’s overall budget. “Roughly twenty percent of the entire American economy is coming from government and state governments deal with roughly $700 billion annually, so there is a lot of money churning through the economy and it’s a lot of money to be responsible for,” Tom Conroy, Vice President of Government Performance at Pew Charitable Trust, said.

Conroy sat down with Emily Jarvis on GovLoop’s State and Local Spotlight. Conroy discussed the need for proper use of data analytics, data sharing among state governments, and utilizing the state’s IT worker effectively to further economic growth through job creation.

Good data analytics can “better efficiency of programs, rid fraud (whenever it occurs) and ensure that people have access to the services they were promised,” Conroy stated. And government can help this process through improved data sharing among state governments and agencies.

One way to encourage data sharing is by continuing to share successful data stories across state governments. There are a few “pocket of examples in a bunch of different states, but no one has really aggregated all of those in a systematic way. That’s one of the things we’d [Pew] like to do in order to share with other states what the promise of big data and data analytics is all about,” Conroy said.

Additionally, Conroy believes there might be a more effective strategy to improve data sharing through a middle ground approach rather than a simple top-down model. Pew will look further into this over the next twelve to eighteen months by evaluating if there “is a collaboration that can happen among state agencies at a more mid-level government arena which could create a memorandum of understanding between agencies to start sharing data. Then, state agencies can learn how to use that data to generate better decisions on the budget- from a policy front,” Conroy shared.

Finally, state IT workers have a fundamental role to play in properly managing the state’s budget. They work to properly use the massive amount of data collected, in state governments, “in a way that helps his/her manager (and ultimately up through to the governor) to ensure that they are funding the right programs, insure that they are providing government services to the right people, and to insure that they are managing government efficiently with no waste.” Ultimately, state government leaders require real-time data to improve or newly implement proper policies.

Government’s management of the federal budget requires the assistance of state governments. As such, state governments have a big role to play in bettering the budgeting system from within.


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