Hutchinson, Peter 1949-
HUTCHINSON, Peter 1949-
PERSONAL: Born 1949.
ADDRESSES: Office—Public Strategies Group, Inc., 325 Cedar St., Ste. 710, St. Paul, MN 55101; fax: 651-292-1482.
CAREER: Former vice president of Dayton Hudson Corp. (now owned by Target), c. 1980s; commissioner of finance for State of Minnesota, until 1990; Public Strategies Group (public policy consulting firm), St. Paul, MN, founder, 1991–.
(With David Osborne) The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Peter Hutchinson is the founder of Public Strategies Group, Inc., a public-policy consulting company that made the news in the early 1990s when it was hired to run the Minneapolis public schools system, the first private company in America to take over operations of local schools from government. Although the results of this endeavor were mixed, Hutchinson was pleased that his company managed to balance the school system's budget. During his years advising governmental agencies how to better handle their finances, Hutchinson has developed certain strategies, which he set forth in his book The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis, written with David Osborne.
In The Price of Government Hutchinson and Osborne offer advice and provide examples on how governments can better manage their budgets. In essence, they advise that instead of devising programs first and then figuring out how to pay for them, governments should prioritize their needs, establish which agencies can pay for them, and cut personnel or agencies that fail to produce results. As Cecilio Morales explained in an America review of the book, the authors "argue that policy makers need to stop debating guns versus butter and concentrate on how much of either can be purchased to yield measurable, clear outcomes without breaking the fiscal piggy bank."
Noting that Osborne was an advisor to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Morales felt that The Price of Government has a definite liberal slant; she also complained that "entire chapters … have the look and feel of an infomercial" for Public Strategies Group. While Morales also felt that the book is most suited to readers in the political arena, Vanessa Bush, writing in Booklist, complimented the authors for offering "sound advice" that is "accessible … for readers of all political perspectives." A contributor to Government Finance Review praised the coauthors for offering "specific solutions" to governments' financing headaches in The Price of Government.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, August 2, 2004, Cecilio Morales, review of The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis, p. 24.
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of The Price of Government, p. 1583.
Government Finance Review, April, 2004, review of The Price of Government, p. 8.
Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, August 17, 2004, Rolfe McCollister, Jr., "Getting Results from Government," p. 6.
Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, February 8, 2005, E. J. Schultz, "Public Policy Consultant Gives First Talk in Community Change Speaker Series," p. 1.
Public Strategies Group Web site, http://www.psgrp.com/ (February 15, 2005) "Peter Hutchinson."