Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 2 Fiscal Year 2013

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2013

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Innovation & Technology

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Governor Patrick    FY 2013 Budget Recommendation:
    Issues in Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor


Spurring Innovation with Technology

Technology presents new and exciting opportunities to drive innovative changes in government that could vastly improve services to residents and businesses and save taxpayers money.  While the Commonwealth has already pursued a number of technology-enabled innovations, the Patrick-Murray Administration is relentlessly fixed on driving innovation in government and identifying new opportunities to change the way government does business.  Toward this end, the Administration plans to formally seek more input from technology experts and entrepreneurs and to make targeted investments in technology to support innovation. 

Focusing on technology will also help streamline the delivery of services through a single face of government and ultimately allow the state to interact with people online however they choose (i.e.  Facebook, blogs, Twitter, etc.).  Enhanced innovation will allow the Commonwealth to address common consumer inquiries and complaints, by adding more transactions online and allowing for better data sharing so that people don’t have to contact multiple agencies to get an issue addressed. 

Engaging with Experts

The Commonwealth will collaborate with innovation experts from the private sector and members of our vast higher education community in the following ways:

  • #MassInnovation – Establish a statewide “State Government Innovation” competition to solicit proposals for using technology to support innovative ideas for state government to better serve its residents and save money.  Entrepreneurial proposals for reshaping government would be solicited through various platforms, including social media (e.g., Twitter), with data made available online in the spirit of open source initiatives.  Proposals would be evaluated for feasibility, cost savings and service improvement.  The Administration would identify the three most promising ideas and challenge teams of students to redesign the most efficient and effective way of providing service to the Commonwealth.  Finalists would be selected by a panel of private and public sector entrepreneurs and implemented across state government.
  • Government Innovation Officer (GIO) – Appoint an innovation expert to advise the Governor on identifying, funding and managing execution of high impact business change projects.  The GIO would be accountable for improving internal government efficiencies and for the improved experience of outside stakeholders and would work closely with the Commonwealth Chief Information Officer to project and monitor the cost and savings impacts of these change initiatives. 
  • Governor’s Council for Innovation – Establish a public council comprised of the Commonwealth’s top innovators to advise the Governor and GIO on the best opportunities for using technology to streamline delivery of state government services to people and businesses and to improve government efficiency. 

Making Government Work Better

The majority of citizen complaints or inconveniences can be addressed, but will require investments in technology.  The Administration continues to find ways to serve the public better and more efficiently.  Some recent examples include:

  • Shorter Wait Times for Unemployment Benefits – The Administration has implemented a new call system to reduce the time people are waiting on the phone to reach a live state employee.  This new system (called Virtual Hold), launched in last month, allows callers to receive a call back when an agent is available as opposed to waiting on hold;
  • Online Licensing for Businesses and Professionals – The Department of Public Safety is introducing eLicensing as a modern convenience for companies and individuals to apply and pay for their licensing and renewals on-line;
  • Improving Access for Taxpayer Assistance – The Department of Revenue (DOR) will be expanding its phone service from 9 a.m.  to 5 p.m.  on all business days starting in January and through May 1st to better assist citizens through tax season;
  • Making Criminal Background Checks Faster and Easier for Employers – The Department of Criminal Justice and Information Services will make information for criminal background checks faster and easier to obtain online;
  • Data Sharing to improve Indigency Verification – The new Department of Re-Entry and Community Supervision will house an indigency verification unit that will utilize existing data from the Department of Transitional Assistance, Department of Unemployment Assistance, DOR and others to create a robust database for verifying eligibility for public counsel;
  • Advanced Analytic Modeling at DOR – Using historical data, data mining and statistical probability modeling to gain insight into taxpayer behavior patterns, DOR will make business decisions based on observed results.  This will allow DOR to make better decisions regarding how discretionary tax compliance management resources should be used to address gaps in taxpayer education, tax debt collection, discovery and fraud and how to improve audit selection to maximize returns;
  • Statewide Vitals System – Creation of a common Vital and Screening Web Enabled System for use by all towns and cities for birth registration, certificate issuance, newborn hearing screening and birth defects recording via one online system.  A single online system for tracking this information would reduce costs to local government and residents and allow better data mining and enhanced collaboration across cities and towns;
  • Collaboration with Municipalities – There are many opportunities to innovate using technology to improve interaction between state and local governments.  This could include improving flow of business data between state government and municipalities, identifying IT services the state could provide municipalities, providing enhanced procurement contracts (e.g.  statewide aggregate purchasing) and providing better tools and forums for municipalities to collaborate with each other and with state government;
  • Improved User Accessibility – The MBTA has made bus and subway data available to developers who have developed free Real Time apps for the MBTA.  Riders can now locate their buses and subways in real time.  The MBTA has also launched "Talk to The T" which allows customers to send a photo or comments directly to the MBTA Customer Support to get help, express concerns or compliment the MBTA;
  • MBTA-Google partnership – The MBTA has partnered closely with Google to make MBTA real-time and schedule information on Google Maps.  In 2011, the MBTA was one of 6 transit agencies worldwide to partner with Google in launching Google Maps Live Transit.  Google Maps Live Transit makes MBTA real-time bus location and countdown information available through Google Maps; and
  • On-Line Services at the Registry – The RMV has made its most common transactions accessible online.  Now, most customers can do a license or registration renewal online, reducing wait times in branches and on the phone. 

Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
For more information email: (617) 727-2040

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