As of late, the prospects of keeping a job have shrunk. Texas’ unemployment rate jumped to almost 13 percent in April with over a million jobs being lost and several industries shrinking 10 percent or more year-over-year.

However, local governments in Texas have not experienced the same troubles that are affecting everyone else. The public sector workforce decreased by less than 1 percent from April 2019 to April 2020, which raises some important questions about efficiency and sustainability.

With the economy struggling and government budgets in disrepair, there must be a rightsizing of the bureaucracy. State and local governments need to go on a diet.

A good way to see which areas of government are fit for trimming is to use third-party efficiency audits. As the Foundation’s James Quintero wrote recently:

“When conducted properly, the practice lets an outside auditor do a deep dive into an entity’s budget and operations ‘to examine fiscal management, efficiency, and utilization of resources.’ Unlike regular audits, an efficiency audit seeks to determine the relationship between certain inputs, such as the amount of tax dollars spent, and the outcomes achieved.”

These audits could yield many ideas to save taxpayer dollars in a time where every dollar counts to survive the COVID crisis. In addition to this concept, there are also other ideas to reduce the size of government, including: halting new hires, delaying pay raises, and eliminating unnecessary programs and services. Together, these tools promise to shrink the size of government and protect a battered private sector.