February 3, 2011 By Lauren Katims Nadeau
Arizona’s Government Information Technology Agency (GITA) could be merged within the Department of Administration if lawmakers sign off on Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget proposal.
The approximately $3 million budgeted to GITA for fiscal year 2011 is transferred to the 2012 proposed budget for the Department of Administration, which provides support services to government agencies. GITA, which is responsible for the state’s IT projects and resources, is one of 10 agencies proposed for consolidation and merger.
“While these consolidations will provide only marginal budget savings, they will improve government operations,” the budget proposal said.
The budget proposal, released in January, relies heavily on health-care and education cuts to close the state’s $1.5 billion deficit. Cuts include dropping 280,000 recipients from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and reducing state spending to the universities by $170 million.
Prisons are one of the few areas recommended for an increase, with an extra $8.4 million to hire 100 new correctional officers in 2012, to be followed by 200 more over the following two years.
“Despite dramatic, courageous and successful budget-balancing efforts of the legislative and executive branches during our nation’s protracted recession, Arizona continues to face an enormous budget deficit,” the proposal said. “Major budget reductions are required because the state can no longer afford many programs and services as they currently exist.”
No details were given in the budget proposal about what GITA’s mission and responsibilities would be after the proposed merger. The governor’s office didn’t respond to phone calls for comment and additional information by Government Technology’s deadline on Thursday.
A spokesperson from GITA said the department supports the governor’s decision, but did not want to comment further.
GITA was formed in 1996 as the strategic planning and coordination agency for IT and has since grown to provide statewide services for IT coordination and planning, IT project review and monitoring, e-government, the Statewide Information Security and Privacy Office, public safety communications and the Strategic Initiatives Unit. Arizona CIO Chad Kirkpatrick is the GITA director.
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