This year's budget, last year's economy

State budgets tend to be a lagging
indicator of the shape of the economy.

'If you think about states collecting
income taxes, that trails the
economy by 12 months,' said Paul
Christman, director at Quest
Software's state and local division.

If the incomes in a state go
down, the lower tax revenues won't
show up for a year, when taxes are
collected.

So despite all the hoopla about
the housing market tailspin in
Florida, it hasn't trickled down yet
into budgets in Florida's Orange
County, said Joe Giovanelli, management
information systems manager
at the county tax collector's
office.

The county's budget is approved
by the Florida Department of
Revenue, and Giovanelli said he
hasn't yet seen a slowdown.
Nonetheless, the county is
streamlining operations by consolidation.
Communication between the
main office and the agencies has
improved substantially, Giovanelli
said. Consolidating servers onto
eight Hewlett-Packard blade
servers also cut tape backup time in
half.

The county is even consolidating
eight county agencies' copiers, fax
machines and scanners, which
were growing old and required
expensive maintenance. It is replacing
them with HP multifunction
printers that can fax, scan and copy.

'But I'll be honest with you,'
Giovanelli said. 'We haven't really
saved any paper.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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