Legislators In Arrears Rescinding Sales Tax 
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   IOWA STATE GOVERNMENT OPERATING EFFICIENCIES

11-19-1999

INTRODUCTION

The operating efficiency levels for the Department of Education (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Administration and Regulation are presented in the table below.  They were prepared by process and performance specialists at the request of  State Senator Steve King.  They were derived in the same manner as operating efficiencies for other organizations.  

This includes, but is not limited to the review or use of:  Comparative analysis, observations, parametrics, processes, total equivalent head counts, budgets, plans, experience, intuition, interviews, knowledge of people involved, trends, cycle times (queue to do ratios) and polls.  

By listening to workers tell how much of their time is wasted, or the percent of their time and efforts (and that of others) that produce value, provides exceptionally good insight into an organization's operating efficiency level.  Efficiency level is defined as the percent of total time, effort or dollars consumed that produces value--generally to those paying for it.  Time and effort are normally converted to dollars for consistency in determining efficiency levels, as was done for the organizations evaluated. 

GENERAL RULES

There are some general rules related to operating efficiency levels.  For example:  The easier it is to measure inputs and outputs, the more efficient an organization operates (inefficiencies are easier to find and more difficult to hide). 

Competition generally increases efficiency level, as do performance standards, process and performance improvement specialists, trust, performance tracking, shortage of funding, shortage of employees, incentives, profit sharing, emphasis and use of process performance measures, management focus on performance, comprehensive plans, measurable objectives, continuous performance improvement, zero based budgeting, use of operating efficiency numbers to manage, availability of performance data, recognition of greatly improved process and employee performance, tying salary to performance etc.

Not many of these, if any, were reported or readily observed in the organizations evaluated.  

SIGNIFICANCE OF EFFICIENCY LEVELS

The efficiency levels are significant to:

1.       Determine where the most benefits would likely be produced with improved management.
2.       Serve as baselines for determining improvement, or the lack of it.
3.       Create an awareness for operating efficiency levels
4.       Show that efficiency levels are far less than 100%, the level which is commonly and incorrectly assumed by those seeking 'more funding' for whatever reason. 

OPERATING EFFICIENCY LEVELS FOR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

Click on TABLES to view operating efficiency levels for other organizations.  Observe how efficiently farmers operate compared to other organizations.  Notice also that organizations controlled or influenced by farmers have higher operating efficiencies.   Does this surprise you?  Notice the low operating efficiencies for newspapers that promote tax increases.   It is also notable that Cedar Rapids Xavier Catholic school is much more efficiently operated than public schools.   Which of the 'rules' above would you likely find in the Catholic schools?

RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that you carefully review and think about the efficiencies presented and how they affect you, your children, friends, and neighbors.   Did the numbers surprise you?  Are you satisfied with them?  If not, what action are you going to take?  What results do you expect to achieve?   Do you have better or more accurate numbers?   Do you know of anyone that can produce them?   What are the operating efficiency levels where you work?  Are they adequate to support your continued employment, and  economic growth of the organization?  

Did it surprise you that the Department of Education (DOE) delivers value for only about 20% of the dollars consumed?   Similarly, what do you think of Governor Vilsack's office operating at about the same low level?       

It is suggested that you send your comments to the webmaster of this page.  You may also wish to support the ALOT group as it steadfastly pursues improved school and government management and performance.   You could also ask public officials to see a copy of their performance and efficiency improvement plans!

Contact your state legislators to let them know your reaction to the operating efficiency levels.

If you or anyone claims to have better numbers than those presented below, bring them forward for comparison, evaluation, discussion and posting.   It would be surprising and somewhat disappointing to learn the numbers presented are the only and best in the world!!

OPERATING EFFICIENCY TABLE: STATE OF IOWA  *

  Actual FY 1998 Estimated FY 1999 ESTIMATED FY 2000
Average  DOE (*Details Later) 21% 20% 18%
Average  DOT (*Details Later) 42% 42% 40%
Average  Admin. & Regulation 36% 39% 35%
Admin. & Regulation Details              
Auditor of State 53% 56% 54%
Ethics and Campaign Disclosure 13% 14% 19%
Commerce--Avg. 38% 37% 41%
  Commerce-administration   35% 32% 34%
  Alcoholic Beverages       34% 31% 30%
  Banking Division          44% 43% 46%
  Credit Union Division     42% 41% 39%
  Insurance Division        36% 31% 28%
  Professional Licensing    42% 41% 44%
  Utilities Division        42% 41% 44%
Legislative Branch 44% 44% 43%
General Services 74% 77% 74%
Governor--Avg. 21% 20% 19%
  Governor's Office, Iowa   19% 20% 18%
Inspections & Appeals--Avg. 13% 12% 11%
  Inspections And Appeals   14% 13% 11%
  Racing Commission         11% 11% 11%
Management 39% 38% 34%
Personnel 35% 34% 35%
Revenue and Finance 29% 28% 26%
Secretary of State 44% 44% 33%
State-Federal Relations 24% 23% 21%
Treasurer of State 74% 78% 78%
Average  Admin. & Regulation 36% 39% 35%

*It is estimated that an independent firm would charge from $250,000 to $500,000) to investigate, evaluate, review, produce and explain an equivalent operating efficiency report.

SPEAKER BABBLE

House Speaker Brent Seigrist appeared on TV recently to assure taxpayers that continuously falling student test scores were nothing to worry about--things were already in place to turn the schools around. What a bunch of 'SPEAKER BABBLE' --in fact, 97% BABBLE VS. 3% SUBSTANCE. Has the ex-teacher, Speaker of the House been reading old copies of the Kansas City Star, that were published DURING THE DECLINE THAT LED TO THE TOTAL collapse and discrediting of the Kansas City Schools? Had he just watched the launching of the Titanic??

Good heavens, where is he coming from? He was in the House when taxpayers were told that the 25% ($200 Million per year) sales tax increase would be rescinded in two years when the illegal deficit spending was eliminated!!

There is uncontrolled spending and a huge budget surplus, and the tax increase is still in place nearly 9 years later--and has escalated to $300 Million per year!

Why should anyone believe you, Mr. Speaker?? Huh???

In 1992, the POORLY MANAGED state of Iowa was suffering from an illegal deficit. The legislature in their wisdom enacted a 25% sales tax increase ($200 Million per year) to address this problem, stating at the time that "this will only be in effect for two years to get this deficit under control". Ha', It's going on 8 years, the tax has escalated to $300 Million per year, and they're still collecting and spending MORE of our money. Meanwhile we've got an enormous surplus in the Treasury which the politicians continue to spend,spend,spend. (It's an inherent characteristic of politicians to spend.)

A group of concerned Iowa taxpayers have now decided "enough is enough" and we say:  Rescind the sales tax increase as promised and give us back our money.  To spotlight the source of the problem, Legislators In Arrears Rescinding Sales tax (LIARS)  was coined.  If you feel as we do, that it's time for the Iowa Legislators to keep their promise and rescind this regressive tax, email your representative and let them know how you feel.

We will continue to track the LIARS and will keep you apprised as to what's going on.  For example:  

 THERE ARE NO TAX CUTS AS LIARS & REPORTERS CLAIM

Government reporters and  have claimed that tax cuts have been made since adopting the 25% sales tax increase in 1992.  They must be using new math, where things don't have to add up!!  The following table uses old math, where things have to add up, and it shows a $6.576 Billion accumulated increase in taxes and spending since 1992!!  WHERE ARE THE TAX CUTS, LIARS??

 State Annual Total

 YEAR

Tax & Spending-Millions

% Annual Increase

Increase Millions

Actual Increase

1992

3,179

 

 

(1992 BASE)

1993

3,403

7%

224

224

1994

3,418

0.42%

14

239

1995

3,628

6%

211

449

1996

3,840

6%

212

661

1997

4,040

5%

200

861

1998

4,360

8%

320

1,181

1999

4,523

4%

163

1,344

2000

4,795

6%

273

1,617

TOTAL ACCUMULATED TAX AND SPEND SINCE 1992

$6,576


To: Webmaster11/20/99

From Senator Steve Hansen. To whomever it may concern> One can disagree with the sales tax and one may level a charge of lying but if you do so you should be honest yourself. At no time in the course of the sales tax debate was it ever promised to be a "two year Tax". In fact most of us who had apprehension about the tax because repeatedly we stated their is "no such thing as a temporary tax.". If you want to repeal the tax then mount an honest campaign drive to get rid of a regressive tax, the sales tax. Please do not lie to make your case and check out your "facts on the the supposed surplus" as it is not what you think it is. Thank you and if you want facts please feel free to contact me at any time. Senator, Steve Hansen

To: Webmaster11/20/99

To the web and yarn spinner. It is just more than a little ironic  that you are promoting a lie to further your cause.  Having participated in the sales tax debates I know that one of the most common phrases used was that there is no such thing as  a temporary tax and this will be with us for a long time. No one on the floor during debate promised that this would be for a two year term including the Governor who vetoed then eventually signed it in to law. There is plenty of ammunition to argue against the regressive tax without having to resort to lies and name calling. While you check out the facts on the debate you may want to check out what the "true surplus is" as it is shrinking on a daily basis. If you choose to debate with the facts keep me on your mailing list. If you wish to continue on the level that you are then please remove me from any list I may be on. An honest, civil debate  will lead to constructive change. Sincerely, Senator Steve Hansen
gnsteve [gnsteve@gateway.net]

To: Webmaster11/20/99

Got your e-mail and "most" of it is true.
Rep. Horbach
lhorbac@legis.state.ia.us

To: Webmaster11/20/99

Dear Sir:

At no time was there a promise that the 5th penny of sales tax would be temporary. If there had been, a sunset provision would have been written into the law.

The last two tax reductions (1997 and 1999 sessions of the General Assembly) have provided as much tax reduction as a repeal of the 5th penny would have provided. The citizens have indicated that they find the sales tax form of taxation less onerous than income taxes or property taxes. It is also the least expensive to administer and collect.

You got what you asked for - just not the way you asked for it.
Kay4Iowa@aol.com

To: Webmaster11/20/99

Talk to your Republican friends who have been in control of the legislature for the past eight years and ask them why the spending has increased from 4 billion to 5 billion?
Srrichar@aol.com

To: Webmaster11/18/99

Republicans took control of the Iowa House following passage of the sales tax increase in 1992. They have controlled the Iowa House since 1993. When the deficit was eliminated, the Republicans had control of the Senate.

Republicans still control the Iowa Senate. State government grew at more than the rate of inflation every year under the leadership of Terry Branstad. Governor Vilsack is trying to control spending and calling for budget cuts of 20-30 million. I would suggest you get involved in a positive way to end deficit spending and promoting tax cuts. Calling people names is not a productive way to change the system.

Matt McCoy
mmccoy@ruan.com

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