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Window on State Government


November 22, 2000

Full e-Texas Commission Meeting

Executive Summary

The e-Texas Commission adopted Volume I of the e-Texas Report to submit to Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander. Volume II will be drafted by the Comptroller with specific recommendations to the legislature based on Volume I. Prior to approving the report, Commissioners presented brief overviews and key findings from their task forces. Comptroller Rylander exercised her personal privilege by presenting to Commission members plaques for their dedication and hard work.


Dr. Gramm called the 7th e-Texas Commission meeting to order and thanked all members, volunteers and staff for their service, hard work and dedication. A special thanks was given to Hector De Leon. Comptroller Rylander also thanked the co-chairs, members of the commission, staff and volunteers (knowledgeable citizens).
e-Texas cochairs and Comptroller Rylander
She stated in part “...we are well on our way to e-government. We are working on our next step in making Texas government more efficient and excellent in the 21st Century.” E-Texas is similar to the Texas Performance Review with two new components consisting of (1) e-Texas Commission with 14 related task forces and (2) 139 volunteers. She stated that over 7,000 hours of time has already been donated and around $1 million in kind support has been generated through the Commission. This is a true example of demonstrating that government belongs to the people.

Project Director Bill Eggers provided brief remarks on the commission’s report, executive summary and e-Texas second report. He stated that there will be hundreds of recommendations in the combined reports.

The commissioners provided the following Task Force/Chapter overviews covering focus, key findings and conclusions:

Health Care and Human Services
Dr. Savings provided a brief update stating:

  • over $70 billion was spent on Texas health care in 1998, an average of $3,556 per person;
  • prescription drug costs are a major force increasing health care costs and they will continue their upward spiral, climbing to 10.2 percent between 2001 – 2007;
  • over 4.8 million Texans were uninsured in 1998;
  • $4.7 billion was spent on uninsured Texans 1998;
  • in the year 2030 the elderly will be the major consumers of the Medicaid budget;
  • 40 percent of the state's budget is spent on health care and human services driven by the rising cost of consumption;
  • bio-technology will allow us to do things we didn't do before; and
  • make health care and human services more client-oriented.

Public Safety and Corrections
Elizabeth Lang-Miers stated that the prison population is growing and how do we deal with the lack of space? She stated that a key focus of the task force’s work was to find alternative placements for some non-violent offenders, free up prison space for violent criminals and increase the chances for successfully rehabilitating substance-abusers by lowering their recidivism rates.

The number of sick and aging prisoners is also growing rapidly. She stated that we should find alternative forms of treatment and help make better use of the money we have to ease the transition from jail into society.

Competitive Government
Bill Hammond stated that agencies and government need to focus on the customer. Our motto: “the employer is our customer.” He stated that we need to change the mindset of how agencies do business.

Government Performance
John Fainter provided a brief report stating that their focus was to offer recommendations to increase efficiency and effectiveness of state government by enhancing the use of performance measures in the budgeting process, improving customer service and to look at the overlapping of intra-government relationship. He stated that the task force looked at the best practices of governments in both the U.S. and abroad to gather the most innovative and efficient practices to improve government accountability. Texas is a leader in the government performance movement by implementing performance budgeting in the early 1990’s, but it is now time to move to the next level of accountability.

Commissioner Massey Villarreal discussed how transportation is one of the two cornerstones of modern Texas state government. He outlined the challenges facing Texas’ transporation system. The nine ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border reported 2.3 million truck crossings in 1999, up 250 percent since 1994 when NAFTA went into effective. TXDOT estimates that they have only 36 percent of the resources they need to build and maintain Texas roads.

E-Texas held hearings on transportation in Houston, El Paso, Brownsville, Arlington, Larado and Dallas. Commissioner Villarreal identified some of the needs of the individual cities stating that GARVEE bonds could be used to supplement transportation funding. He stated that their response was to (1) make sure TxDOT is using every tax dollar and every employee position the best way it can; (2) give TxDOT the tools other states have to build roads quicker and cheaper; and (3) use alternative funding methods to pay to build, expand, and repair roads, and other innovative ideas to get more roads built faster.

e-Texas commissioners

Deputy Comptroller Billy Hamilton also praised all that worked on the e-Texas Report and Commission. He stated that “life is messy and these types of projects are messy.” Hamilton reported that many of the recommendations in the e-Texas report will be converted to legislation/riders

Tracy Wurzel, Special Assistant for Policy and Legislative Affairs, stated that the 77th Legislature will be unlike any we have ever had before. One of the top issues this Session will be redistricting. We will have over 100 pieces of legislation and will be looking to Senator Robert Duncan to help guide us. We will be calling upon e-Texas Commissioners when necessary to provide expert testimony on their specific issues.

Hector De Leon thanked all volunteers. He thanked the Comptroller for her time, effort, service and vision by showing that we are beneficiaries of state government not victims and that state government can accomplish more.

Comptroller Rylander stated that e-Texas is on-going - a Texas yet to come by bringing together the best and the brightest. This belongs to the people of Texas.

The Chair adjourned the meeting.

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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