Oklahoma taxpayers continue to save millions of dollars due to recent purchasing reforms, according to the state’s purchasing director.
State Purchasing Director Scott Schlotthauer told lawmakers participating in a legislative study of the House Government Modernization Committee that state and local governments have saved an
estimated $20 million in the past two fiscal years since reform legislation in 2008 and 2009 restructured Oklahoma central purchasing laws.
The savings have been realized because central purchasers have been able to manage and renegotiate state contracts in an effort to leverage the state’s buying power and ensure taxpayers are getting the best deal possible.
“We will continue to scrutinize every penny of taxpayer money that government spends as we work to root out waste,” said House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee. “Millions of taxpayer dollars have already been saved just by renegotiating purchasing contracts that weren’t giving taxpayers the best bang for their buck. Common sense says government should pay the lowest possible price for everything it buys, but common sense hasn’t always been government’s specialty. I’m pleased we’re starting to reverse that trend by putting the fiscally conservative practices that taxpayers use in their own lives in place in their government. I commend Representative Murphey for his
continued leadership on this issue.”
The committee also heard testimony detailing the possibility of additional savings provided the Legislature continue to act proactively to encourage best purchasing practices.
David Yarkin, the president of Government Sourcing Solutions, discussed several ideas for future reforms, including cooperative purchasing and eProcurement.
“I congratulate Representative Murphey and the committee for looking deep into an area of state government where many legislators never venture – state procurement,” Yarkin said. “Procurement can be a tremendous engine to drive savings for Oklahoma’s taxpayers. Especially at a time when state revenues are down and budgets are squeezed, savings from procurement are more important than ever.”
Brad Martin, Oklahoma City director of business development for The Persimmon Group, discussed purchasing best practices.
Committee members said they support further reforms.
“We are off to a good start, but it is our job as policymakers to continue to find and eliminate wasteful processes and practices that have cost Oklahoma taxpayers millions of dollars over the past years,” said state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, who chairs the committee.
“No matter how many reforms we enact, there is always more to be done on the government modernization front,” said state Rep. Lisa J. Billy, R-Purcell, a co-requester of the study. “The taxpayers we represent deserve nothing less.”
The committee also received an update regarding the implementation of a new legislative mandate requiring state agency purchasing officers to report finding items for sale through common retail outlets that are less expensive than the state’s mandatory contracts. House Bill 1086 was approved by the Legislature and signed into law this year as part of the effort to continue to hold state purchasing officials accountable in obtaining the best price for taxpayers.
Murphey indicated he expects a series of additional government modernization legislation to advance in the upcoming legislative session.
“We are continuing to discover new ways to save state taxpayer dollars and we will be filing more government modernization legislation for the 2012 legislative session,” Murphey said.
NOTE: For accompanying video, see http://www.okhouse.tv/iViewVideo.aspx?VideoID=392
State Representative Jason Murphey
State Capitol Building – Room #437
2300 North Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
1(405) 557-7350 (Office)
1(405) 315-5064 (Cell)