NOTE: A version of this blog, written by CFM Senior Partner Dave Fiskum, first ran in this space two years ago. As legislators return to the Capitol early next month for the 2015 session, it is appropriate to run it again.
If state government is going to operate more effectively and efficiently, then there are three questions policymakers should ask as they review individual pieces of legislation.
1. Is there an appropriate role for government to play?
This is a question seldom asked, at least on the record. Many policymakers simply assume that, if there is a problem, then there should be a state response to it. The evidence is found in the 3,500 to 5,000 bills introduced every legislative session.
If the question was asked routinely, the answer would not automatically be "yes" or "no," but would depend on the specific situation. Often, the simple act of asking the question and considering the answer would be a step in the direction of aligning state government programs to available resources.
Policymakers should reserve the right to say there is no appropriate role for state government in, for example, a battle between two business groups.
A "yes" answer, by contrast, could apply to a question about organizing health care for indigent Oregonians or offer financial and/or parenting support for single parents and their children.