Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Saxman's Cost Cutting Caucus ready for 2007 Session

From Delegate Chris Saxman
Chairman, Cost Cutting Caucus

While in many ways, politics appears to be turning more negative, with year after year of negative campaign advertising, name calling and blind partisanship, I am happy to report that there are many of us here in Virginia working to change that culture by working together for the good of our Commonwealth. While our efforts may not receive as many headlines or get as much coverage, we are doing the hard work of changing the way Virginia government operates so that we can better serve the taxpayers of Virginia in more efficient and cost-effective ways.

I am chairman of a group in the legislature called the Cost Cutting Caucus. For the past year, I have been working with Bill Leighty, Chief-of-Staff to former Governor Warner and current Governor Kaine, to create working groups on reducing costs in 10 key areas of state government operations.

I am pleased to report this week we are announcing these working groups, with about three people in each area. The groups will consist of one House member, one Senator and one representative of the private sector. Mr. Leighty will be assigning several staff members to assist us in our efforts as well. Speaker Bill Howell and Senate Majority Leader Walter Stosch have given their support to this important effort.

We will be looking at these ten areas:

1) Energy
2) Communications
3) Water Usage
4) Travel
5) Solid Waste
6) Real Estate
7) Central Mail
8) Printing
9) Fleet Management
10) Return to Work

As we seek to manage down the operating cost of state government, we must also keep in mind that we should be trying to bring about better services at the same time. In the private sector, we have to do that every day just to survive. Bringing that mentality to state government has been an interesting journey to say the least, but with people who "get it," we are well on our way.

An example of the size of the task - the energy bills to the Commonwealth are about $500,000,000 every biennium and increasing at a substantial rate. If we can slow the growth and even reduce the baseline, we can save millions of dollars. That money can be better spent elsewhere or even returned to the taxpayer.

Moving forward on these working groups, it is important that we continue to receive input from you - the taxpayers who foot the bills and the customers who utilize these services.

I am pleased to be participating in a Town Hall meeting hosted by Americans for Prosperity-Virginia, with my Co-chairman of the Cost Cutting Caucus, Senator Ryan McDougle, on Monday December 18th, to share our efforts with Virginians and hear their thoughts on how we can improve the way our government operates.

For more information, please visit

My door is always open, and I welcome your input and suggestions. You can reach me anytime at I look forward to continuing to work with you to make Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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