Mark Miloscia wants to give Washington the best-run state government in the world.
Miloscia, a candidate for Washington State Auditor, came to Bellingham on his campaign trail Feb. 27 to meet with community members and talk about how he would make the state run more efficiently if elected this fall.
The Federal Way Democrat says he wants Washington to run like the best businesses, and would do so using a systemwide approach to state government, as opposed to looking at each agency individually. Using the Baldrige Performace Exellence Program – a nationally known economic improvement program – Miloscia said he hopes to improve efficiency to a new standard within six years.
“I really think government can be run like the best businesses,” Miloscia said. “It’s just management 101.”
Miloscia, a seven-term House member, said the best-running agencies and businesses score around 60 on the Baldrige scale. He said he estimates the City of Bellingham would receive around 30 using the same scale, but he can help improve that.
Government can run better and rely less on taxes, Miloscia said, and he would reduce the need for taxes by 10-20 percent in six years by improving quality in state-run agencies. In turn that would mean small businesses will have to pay less taxes, he said. But it would take some time to get there.
“The political system is too short-run,” he said. “We never really get the long-term traction.”
To decrease the dependency on tax money the government needs to eliminate waste, of which there are seven kinds, Miloscia said. One of those is material waste. A recent audit of cell phones paid for by the state discovered that nearly one-third of them are never used to make calls. Other instances are vehicle fleets and room furnishings that don’t get used, he said.
Miloscia also targeted what he calls “travel time,” or the extra steps it takes to reach a goal because of errors. With better training of employees, there would be fewer mistakes, he said.
Miloscia cited “excess duties” agencies perform that are not needed by government or citizens, including much data collection, he said. Auto manufactures give consumers the chance to buy just the bare essentials with minimally optioned vehicles, he said, and government should be able to do that, too.
“Government agencies don’t have the same cultural take on getting rid of waste as businesses do,” Miloscia said. “Business owners know what branches are best, but government doesn’t.”
Miloscia holds an MBA from the University of North Dakota, earned an MA in clinical psychology from Chapman University and is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Senior Executives in State and Local Government. He went on to be an Air Force B-52 pilot and now works as a substitute teacher in addition to his representative duties.
If elected state auditor, Miloscia said, he would identify which agencies are working effectively and which are not, and work with them to all reach the same high level, he said.
“Can government be run well?” he asked. “It can.”