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Penny-pinching California cuts off cell phones; What's next?

The newly-elected governor wants to cut wasteful state spending and has starting by calling for the shut-off of half of the state-issued cell phones, some 48,000 devices, by June 1. Gov.
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Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

The newly-elected governor wants to cut wasteful state spending and has starting by calling for the shut-off of half of the state-issued cell phones, some 48,000 devices, by June 1. Gov. Jerry Brown, who will also be returning his own state-issued phone, said that the move will save the financially-strapped state $20 million. In a statement, Brown said:

It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with tax-payer-funded cell phones. The current number of phones out there is astounding.

Of course, that push to cut the number in half by mid-year could be slowed if devices are still under contract. In those cases, an early termination fee may be a greater expense to the state than just keeping the device.

State workers interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and other news outlets applauded the governor's move, saying that keep state workers employed is more important than providing them with cell phones.

The cell phone savings is being viewed as just a drop in the budget when it comes to cutting through the state's deficit. But the move is symbolic because it shows that the governor is serious about trimming waste before turning to voters to ask for more tax dollars.

That leads to the next question. If Brown - considered to be not the most tech-savvy politician - slashes some tech to save money, will he also find opportunities to use technology to streamline some state business and increase efficiencies?

The state is already moving its email system to the cloud as a money-saving move that turned controversial when Google argued that the contract was designed for a Microsoft win. The question that state leaders need to ponder next is how they can continue to use technology to discover even more savings.

Any ideas for them?

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