To: Board of Regents

 

From: Richard A. Crofts

Commissioner

 

Date: January 15, 2003

 

Subject: Inventory of Challenges Facing State Government


The Regents at the November meeting asked me to provide a written summary of the challenges facing State government learned from our conversations and discussions with state officials.

 

Here is a list of the items developed thus far:

 

Taxation:

         Low revenue stream from tax structure in need of reform

         High cost of essential government relative to low revenue stream

         Role of tax incentives for business development

         High income tax rates (or the perception of high income tax rates) and no sales tax

 

Education:

         Number of MUS campuses and number of K-12 school districts

 

Workforce Development:

         Need for better coordination of all efforts

         Need for more two-year graduates, more technical training, and more continuing education and specialized training for workers

         Need for clearer relationships between training and education and jobs

 

Information Technology

         Collaboration and Coordination of information technology services and resources

         Potential Efficiencies through joint purchasing

         Providing quality, high-speed Internet connectivity to all Montanans at affordable prices

 

Corrections

         Effective alternatives to incarceration

         Control of the cost of imprisonment

 

Drought

 

Lack of planning and vision for the future of the State

 

Economic development:

         Coal methane development in environmentally sound fashion

         Clusters

 

Dispute resolution -- discussions with Consensus Council about collaboration and affiliation.

 

Homeland Security and disaster recovery -- discussions with Commission on Public Service to assist in the development of Citizens' Councils to deal with security and emergency challenges.

 

Ongoing collaboration between Forest Conservation and Experiment Station and State Department of Forestry on forest management, timber harvest, and recreation.