On reducing state government vehicle fleet

When Gov. Bobby Jindal took office, the state’s fleet of vehicles ranked in the Top 10 nationally.

That was absurd for such a small state, and the administration wisely set about cutting back on cars. The goal of a 10 percent reduction has been elusive, but the state is making progress.

Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater announced recently that the state has trimmed 1,001 vehicles from the fleet, which totaled 12,740 when the effort began in 2009. The current count is the smallest since 2004.

The effort to make state government more efficient “is making steady progress and is already producing significant taxpayer savings,” Rainwater said. The state will continue to push to reduce the fleet and downsize government in other ways, he said. That is essential.

Cabinet departments have met the 10 percent goal, but the administration doesn’t have the authority to order cuts in agencies outside its direct control. Other statewide elected officials have to initiate their own cuts, and those who haven’t need to do so.

Taxpayers should only have to pay for vehicles for state employees who absolutely need them to carry out their duties. And with the state struggling to balance its budget, doing away with unnecessary expenses is more important than ever.

– The Times-Picayune, New Orleans