A tax watchdog group is calling for the creation of a new state agency to oversee how Florida implements information technology. TaxWatch researchers say because of the lack of statewide tech standards, Florida tax dollars are being wasted.
Currently, different state agencies use different systems to store and retrieve data, hindering inter-agency cooperation. Florida TaxWatch officials say creating a state standard enforced by an umbrella agency would increase efficiency. Previous attempts to standardize IT systems in the state failed for many reasons, including the worry that creating a new agency would simply expand government bureaucracy. But, Robert Weissert, TaxWatch’s Chief Researcher, argued that an IT agency would actually reduce bureaucracy and save taxpayers money.
“So, we’re not actually creating anything new, we’re just better organizing the activities we’re already doing. And that organization, although you may have a new entity on an organizational chart, would actually be reducing bureaucracy and reducing costs,” Weissert said.
A 2012 survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government ties Florida with Idaho for last in the nation when it comes to coordinating technology across its state agencies.