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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Feeding the Beast

In today's Rocky Mountain News:


Dismayed lawmakers learned Monday that the state might have to scrap a new but flawed computer system for vehicle registrations that already has cost taxpayers nearly $11 million.
. . .
"I suspect the failure rests on the shoulder of the legislature," said Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud.

Rep. Lundberg speaks the truth.

But there is more:


*CBMS: Colorado Benefits Management System, developed by EDS at a cost of 223 million. It fouled up welfare benefits and left recipients without critical cash. The federal government demanded an $11 million sanction for money that CBMS incorrectly paid out in food stamps.


* Genesis: Developed by Accenture under a $40.8 million contract with the state Department of Labor to track unemployment insurance. The system had a 20 percent error rate, and the two sides agreed to cancel the contract. Colorado paid Accenture $27 million.

• SCORE: Statewide Colorado Registration and Election system, developed by ccenture under a $10.5 million contract. When Accenture missed a federal deadline for completion of the new statewide voter registration database, the secretary of state canceled the contract.


• ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning system was developed by SAP at a cost of $38 million to track Colorado Department of Transportation finances, personnel and project management. About 1,000 employees had errors in their payroll checks last winter. Alterations to the system are ongoing.


THAT'S NOT ALL


With large swaths of the Gulf Coast still in ruins from Hurricane Katrina, rich federal tax breaks designed to spur rebuilding are flowing hundreds of miles inland to investors who are buying up luxury condos near the University of Alabama's football stadium.


About 10 condominium projects are going up in and around Tuscaloosa, and builders re asking up to $1 million for units with granite countertops, king-size bathtubs and Bama decor, including crimson couches and Bear Bryant wall art.


All of these examples are in today's paper. To catalogue such folly every day would be a full time job.

The next time the government wants a tax increase, remember how well it spends your money. The next time someone says it is "heartless" to deny their special project tax money, remember how well the government spends your money.

The government has plenty of money. It just does not know how to spend it.

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