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News Release


Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander Launches Initiative to Fundamentally Change the Way Government Does Business

 

(Austin)--State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander today -- via the Internet and a videoconference --launched an initiative to transform Texas government from its traditional bricks and mortar foundation to a national technological leader that uses bytes, chips and satellite airwaves to deliver services.

"Envision a Texas where you don't stand in a line to renew a driver's license or motor vehicle registration," Comptroller Rylander said.

"Envision a Texas where a small business like Joe's Bakery in East Austin doesn't have to contact the Department of Health, the Comptroller's office, the Worker's Compensation Commission, and, if they are a business corporation, the Secretary of State's office, just to do business.

"Envision a Texas where you don't have to have a separate permit, a separate report and a separate check for the hotel-motel tax, franchise tax, mixed-beverage tax, boat and boat-motor tax, cement-production tax, sulphur-production tax, or the sales tax.

"Envision a Texas where a child sick at home can still attend class through the Internet.

"Envision e-Texas," Comptroller Rylander said. "Government that is excellent, efficient and effective."

Rylander announced the initiative's three co-chairmen who are Dr. Wendy Lee Gramm of College Station, The Honorable Thomas G. Loeffler of San Antonio, and Hector De Leon of Austin.

"Technology--especially the Internet--is reshaping our economy and society, how we live our lives and how we view our world," Comptroller Rylander said. "It is rapidly transforming entire industries. Amazon.com is revolutionizing bookselling; e-Bay is reinventing how goods are bought and sold; and e-Toys is changing the way parents buy toys for their children.

"Government is stuck in the age of Atari and Commodore, while the rest of world is on fast-forward to web-based management and e-commerce with companies like Dell, Intel and Texas Instruments leading the way," she said. "The private sector is taking advantage of new technology to deliver more goods and better service to their customers at a lower cost. As taxpayers become accustomed to that level of service, they will demand the same performance from their government.

"In the not too distant future, e-government will be government," she said.

Comptroller Rylander was joined by e-Texas co-chairmen Gramm and De Leon at the headquarters of Austin-based VTEL Corp., an e-Texas partner and press conference facilitator. Co-chairman Loeffler was unable to attend the news conference. VTEL was represented by Steve Keilen, chief marketing officer.

Calling it the cornerstone of her administration, Rylander has charged the citizens advisory committee with recommending ways for Texas government to cost less, provide better service, and be more responsive to the citizens who pay for it.

"Texas government needs to be transformed from a bricks and mortar model that closes after 5 p.m. and on weekends to a virtual government that serves the citizens of Texas 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week," she said.

Dr. Gramm emphasized the commission's charge to recommend changes that capitalize on the varied opportunities technology is offering.

"This initiative will be a challenge, but it's one we cannot as Texas citizens take lightly," Dr. Gramm said. "Texans should be able to go to one Web site and apply for and renew business permits and licenses, find out the latest test scores at their children's schools, and file their state taxes."

Comptroller Rylander announced 14 task forces and the commissioners who will lead the reviews in those areas:

  • Asset and Financial Management, Thomas O. Hicks of Dallas, chairman of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, a private investment firm.
  • Competitive Government, Bill Hammond of Austin, executive director of Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce.
  • Regulatory Reform, Gerald B. Smith of Houston, chairman and CEO of Smith Graham & Co., a fixed-income investment management firm.
  • Human Resource Management, Laura Ayoub Keith of El Paso, president of The Human Element, a human resource training, search and outplacement firm.
  • E-Government, Rosendo Parra of Austin, senior vice president of Dell Computer Corp.
  • Health Care & Human Services, Thomas R. Saving of College Station, economics professor at Texas A&M University.
  • Government Performance, John W. Fainter Jr. of Austin, president of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas.
  • Education, Charles Miller of Houston, chairman of Meridian Ltd, a private investment partnership.
  • Public Safety & Corrections, Elizabeth Lang-Miers of Dallas, attorney with Locke Liddell & Sapp.
  • Environment/Natural Resources, Noe Fernandez of McAllen,
  • Workforce, Sonceria (Sonny) Messiah-Jiles of Houston, publisher of the Houston Defender.
  • Local Government Empowerment, The Honorable Kevin Eltife, mayor of Tyler.
  • Transportation, Massey Villarreal of Missouri City, president and CEO of Precision Task Group, Inc., a computer consulting firm.
  • Legislative Advisory Group, The Honorable Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, senator and attorney.

 

Saving and Fainter were introduced at the Austin press conference site.

Commissioners Hammond, Messiah-Jiles, Keith, Smith, Lang-Miers and Villarreal were linked to the Austin-originated press conference through state-of-the-art videoconferencing capabilities at Kinko's® locations in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and El Paso.

Kinko's® Inc. is a leader in business communication services, including the world's largest network of retail public-access videoconferencing services, which uses VTEL videoconferencing systems in 155 locations in the U.S. and Canada. VTEL also made the videoconference available on the Internet using its TurboCast ' video streaming product.

Based in Austin with offices and resellers in 61 countries, VTEL is a global leader in visual communications, offering Internet video streaming solutions, videoconferencing and video networking systems, systems integration and support services.

Each task force will examine the various state agencies and programs covered by those areas by soliciting comments through public "e-hearings," meetings with public and private sector innovators, and discussions with experts. Each task force will include citizen volunteers identified by the Comptroller's office as members, and will be aided by agency staff.

"I have asked the commission to formulate recommendations in time to develop a legislative package before the 77th session," Rylander said. "And I believe there are some changes that can be implemented administratively prior to the next session."

Interested citizens may offer their input to the process at e-hearings and at regional hearings held across the state. In addition, suggestions may be called in to 1-800-531-5441, extension 5-0332 or e-mailed to [email protected] Interested Texans may follow the commission's progress at <www.e-texas.org>.

 

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Carole Keeton Rylander is the first woman elected Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. She is a former public school teacher, first woman president of the Austin School Board and first woman mayor of Austin. She is also the first woman elected and re-elected Texas Railroad Commissioner.


e-Texas is an initiative of Carole Keeton Rylander, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Post Office Box 13528, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas

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