Panel: IT can close state budget gaps

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. ? State IT budgets will not escape belt tightening unless technology officials show how information technology can improve operations and save money.

Members of a panel on state IT budgets said Monday at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers Annual Conference that state governments are reeling from decreased tax revenues and high expenditures for Medicaid, homeland security, education and government employee salaries.

"[States] are getting hit hard from both sides," said Randy Bauer, state budget director with Iowa's Department of Management. This is happening because states have, for the most part, exhausted their financial reserves, the so-called rainy-day funds, he said.

Some states also are finding it hard to make additional expenditures because 2003 revenues have been extremely weak, Bauer said. More than one-third of the states are in dire budget circumstances, he said.

While state IT departments have been spared deep budget cuts so far, this may change soon, said William O'Leary, senior director for health and human services for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp.'s Public Sector, State and Local Government.

"IT is not the low hanging fruit in a budget crisis, but a year later [is another matter]," he said."

O'Leary recommended that states take the following steps to maximize their IT dollars:

  • Provide key decision makers with information they need to make decisions.


  • Leverage revenue streams to support IT infrastructure.


  • Leverage IT to maximize revenue and streamline government administration and operations.


  • Despite the inability of some state governments to begin new IT initiatives, the technology industry should expect homeland-security spending to remain strong at all levels of government, Bauer said.

    Those dollars will be used to prevent possible terrorist attacks and to improve cybersecurity to protect the economy against the growing wave of computer viruses and worms, he said.

    "Security is the buzzword in Washington," Bauer said.

    About the Author

    William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

    Reader Comments

    Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

    Please type the letters/numbers you see above

    What is your e-mail address?

    My e-mail address is:

    Do you have a password?

    Forgot your password? Click here
    close

    Trending

    • Dive into our Contract Award database

      In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

    • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

      In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

    contracts DB

    Washington Technology Daily

    Sign up for our newsletter.

    Terms and Privacy Policy consent

    I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.