Archived Story

Editorial: Stepping up to the dashboard

Published 4:32pm Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday, March 4, 2011

After much anticipation, Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled his 2012-2013 fiscal state budget, in which he proposes notable cuts and changes sending waves of relief to some, including opponents to the Michigan Business Tax, and surges of anger to others including educators and members of local government.

Opinions, it’s safe to say, are still forming among residents who, while trying to make sense of the proposed plan, will likely be inundated with information overload in the coming days and weeks.

However, one aspect of Snyder’s plan to “put Michigan on back on the path to fiscal responsibility” is a definite move in the right direction: the move toward measuring Michigan’s overall performance.

Snyder has professed a “commitment to government transparency and accountability” and staying true to that commitment, he has developed MiDashboard, a way to chart the effectiveness and progress of key areas of state operation including economic strength, health and education, value for money government, quality of life and public safety. Through this initiative, Snyder plans to set “clear statewide measures” for the aforementioned areas, giving citizens a chance to see what is and what is not working in the state of Michigan.

Not only does it provide a glimpse into how Michigan is faring, compared to national measures in come cases, MiDashboard is in line with the performance based thinking that should be adopted more often in our every day lives.

Governing should be a constant process — a process of looking at and reevaluating the destinations of state funding, determining which are producing profitable results and can clearly show they are working for the betterment of the state.

To throw state dollars at programs that don’t work is a clear example of wasteful spending but is also an example of irresponsible government.

Essentially what Snyder is doing is revisiting the long-abandoned practice of accountability.

Walk in the shoes of the average every day citizen and their world revolves around accountability. Perform poorly at work and the job is lost. Perform poorly at being a good parent or spouse and the family may fall apart. Perform less than stellar in the world of personal finance and those finances disappear, replaced by debt and subsequent hardship.

As a society we must demand accountability from those who lead us as we do from ourselves. From government, educators, health and business. We must demand that our government check itself, we must demand the very best workforce, that our educators perform to the highest possible standards so as to create a population for which the potential for growth and success is unlimited.

To see the MiDashboard, visit www.michigan.gov/midashboard.

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