A state senator calls for changes in how the Health and Human Services Department is budgeted in wake of a harshly critical audit.
State Senator Heath Mello of Omaha has pushed performance-based budgeting before, but his efforts met resistance in the legislature. Now, he wants to focus on Health and Human Services, as a pilot project.
“That should hopefully provide the results to the rest of the legislature and to the governor on whether or not it’s worthwhile for the state to move to this more-business oriented approach to budgeting,” according to Mello.
Mello says the harsh audit of HHS motivates his move and might convince lawmakers that the idea has merit.
“But the reality is that taxpayers want more oversight, more transparency and more accountability with every tax dollar we use,” Mello says.
Mello says the audit demonstrates the need for openness in the department. Mello is joined in his call for performance-based budgeting for the department by fellow Omaha Senator Jeremy Nordquist. Both state they are alarmed by a 27% growth in the cost of delivering child welfare services in the two years the state has gone to privatization. Nordquist said in a written statement that a move to performance-based budgeting would provide more oversight of the department.