Opportunities for Cost Savings
- Reducing municipal employee health insurance costs by moving municipalities into the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) or programs with equivalent or better rates and enabling this action by granting plan design authority to municipal managers;
- Reducing retiree benefit costs by moving retired teachers into Medicare;
- Increasing efficiency and capacity through regionalization;
- Maximizing federal Medicaid reimbursements for special education costs and exploring other avenues to reduce or spread costs;
- Reducing procurement costs through procurement reform, enhanced use of collaboratives and coordinated purchasing; and
- Reducing energy costs through the use of energy savings companies (ESCOs), conservation campaigns and better purchasing.
The Commission discussed the sales tax as the most viable option. Increasing the sales tax from the current rate of 5% to 6% is estimated to result in approximately $720 million dollars in new revenue. Commission members agreed that, if this tax were to be increased, some or all of the new dollars should be dedicated to education needs.
The gas tax was discussed but it was the opinion of the commission that money generated from it would likely be used to fund transportation projects.
The Commission also promoted the use of private fund raising means to jumpstart the Governor’s education agenda.