Governor Walker’s Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Commission is out with a preliminary report on steps the state could take to save over $266 million. Some of the biggest changes suggested are possible reforms in public assistance programs, such as the FoodShare and the Wisconsin Shares.
Recent state audits and media reports have found widespread fraud in those programs, and the panel suggests reforms there could save over $177 million a year. Other identified savings dealt with getting overtime, contracts, and procurement costs under control.
Commission Chairman Craig Rakowski says the report is not a final overview of the panel’s work, but is meant to highlight what they have heard so far during members’ first six months of work. He hopes it will help encourage more public input into the process and generate new ideas from members of the commission.
However, Rakowski also notes that there work has also shown that previous efforts to examine waste and fraud have generated similar suggestions. He says there may need to be a “change in state culture” to one that’s focused on continual improvement, especially after problems are found that can be corrected.
Governor Scott Walker formed the Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Commission as part of a plan to find an additional savings through improving the efficiency of state government and rooting out wasteful spending and fraud in agencies. A final report from the commission is due at the end of the year.