Pence putting stamp on Indiana with new goals

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday he will shuffle where state agencies focus most of their efforts as he begins putting his stamp on state government, halfway through his first year in office.

At the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, leaders will begin evaluating the cost per transaction; the State Department of Health will focus more on youth obesity and smoking; and the Department of Veteran Affairs will pick through employment metrics. Most of the goals are new to the Pence administration, but include some priorities set by former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

State Budget Director Chris Atkins said Monday that the new priorities reflect the goals that Pence laid out in his campaign "roadmap" with an overarching focus on job creation.

"They are the chief means by which the governor will hold agencies accountable," Atkins said.

Pence has spent the first six months of his administration meeting with agency leaders to hear their ideas after tasking them with writing "Good to Great" plans for their departments. The new governor gave copies of the 2001 management book by the same name to his cabinet members at their first meeting in January.

The new priorities take effect with the start of the new budget year, July 1.

Atkins said the administration will rely on "performance-based budgeting" to help press the new goals, rewarding agencies with funding.

The Pence administration expects to continue the recent trend of withholding 3 percent of funds approved by lawmakers in the state budget. Agencies which perform better will be able recoup up to two-thirds of the money which would have otherwise been kept in state reserves.

The new priorities come on the heels of a legislative session with mixed results for the new governor and the first veto override by state lawmakers. Atkins said the administration is still finalizing goals with agency heads and will determine in the coming months how to monitor progress.

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