Bigger bang for the buck
Every little bit of savings helps in a state as broke as Illinois.
Saving $1 million isn't much in the context of Illinois' frightful multibillion-dollar financial problems.
Still, it's not chump change, and money saved can be rerouted to more useful public purposes.
So a tip of the hat to the office of Secretary of State Jesse White for rethinking its license renewal process in a way that serves both taxpayers and motorists.
The change saves money by eliminating paperwork. Previously, White's office sent motorists license renewal forms that could be folded into a return envelope along with a check to cover the renewal costs.
Now White's office sends a postcard that informs motorists they can renew their plates over the Internet, by visiting a state licensing facility or by mail using an envelope they provide themselves. If people prefer the old-style envelope approach, they can call a number on the postcard. White's office also has been using the Internet in other ways that save money, including sending emails to inform motorists of upcoming obligations.
These small things represent big changes. Instead of just using the same approach over and over again, state officials rethought and then re-engineered the process. Spokesman David Druker said the office's employees had noted in the past that motorists didn't regularly use the big envelopes that consumed such a large part of the state's mailing cost.
In an age where government is being asked to do more with less, it's reassuring to see that important offices like the secretary of state can get the job done the same way by using smart, less expensive means that combine common sense with high technology. Good job.