California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is cutting year-end IT buying for state agencies, as the state tries to recover from a $24.2 billion state budget deficit. “The move eliminates the year-end shopping spree for PCs, storage devices and other IT commodities that state agencies often engage in as they spend leftover budget money,” wrote Government Technology’s Steve Town. Schwarzenegger terminated unfulfilled vendor contracts dating from March first; the ban will continue until the end of the 2008/2009 financial year, which ends June 30. "The state will continue to purchase IT over time, but it will just be done in a more strategic way," said Adrian Farley, chief deputy director for the California Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).

State year-end hardware spending normally doubles as agencies spend what is left over from their annual budgets.

Government agencies must cut vendor contracts 15 percent next year. Exempted from the spending ban are multiyear IT systems and service contracts that are approved by California CIO Teri Takai.

"There will not be purchases of new technology hardware, unless it's required to address a critical public safety need," Farley said.

The state hopes the spending cuts will lead to a more unified IT-acquisition strategy across state agencies.

"An environment where you have multiple agencies doing independent purchases typically doesn't result in a strategic outcome," Farley said.

"This is really about the state taking a business perspective on how we spend money -- that's what the taxpayers deserve," Farley added.

Source: Government Technology

By Mark Alvarez