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Looking to the Future

Note: To help the reader navigate this report, a chart of acronyms is provided at the beginning of Chapter 2 in Exhibit 1 .

3.3 Looking to the Future

By fiscal year 2006, rapid changes are anticipated-in the available technology and in decreased costs of such technological applications, as well as in the general public's acceptance and usage of those applications. The administrative agency (DIR) should establish a research function to continuously search for opportunities presented by these changes and, to the degree possible, develop systems that incorporate a more expansive list of benefits and services. Responsibility for these activities should reside with the administrative agency with input from the ESD Task Force and other interested stakeholders.

At that point, Texas should have an infrastructure in place that could accommodate a wide variety of state applications. Initiation of new usage of the technology would be made significantly easier by the presence of that infrastructure. The state could develop a veritable menu of services, that would include not only those recommended in this report, but also those that offer possibilities for state tax functions, state purchasing activities, e-voting, low-income utility subsidies, documentation of professional licensure, and other activities not yet imagined in 2000. State employees, recipients of state benefits, and the general public that interact with the state for a multitude of purposes, could choose to carry an electronic card, or use cardless electronic technology as a vehicle for those services and functions that serve their individual needs.

Five or more years in the future, ESD applications may be widespread in the private sector as well as in government applications. Texas could consider the development of systems that move from solely the delivery of governmental services to systems that can be accessed by the general public to enhance access to services and information.

3.3.1. Recommendation 16: Explore Options and Develop New Plans

In 2006, the ESD Task Force and administrative agency should assess the longer-range plan for ESD to propose new initiatives to the Legislature in 2007. Expansion of public-private partnerships in this arena should be explored to identify viable opportunities that might enhance the already established relationships with retailers and the banking industry. E-commerce should be in full use and could be another aspect for consideration. Other opportunities, resulting from changes in programs, technology, and costs, will have developed by this point in the stages of ESD, and the ESD Task Force and administrative agency will be in position to further refine the map, setting the best course for Texas.

As the ESD system develops, it may be appropriate for the ESD Task Force to explore other organizational opportunities such as an independent, non-profit structure with a governing board and staff to administer the ESD system. This organization could assume the roles and responsibilities in LSG2 that are placed under the auspices of the ESD Task Force and the designated administrative agency. A non-profit structure offers the potential for greater flexibility related to administration and development because it would not be tied to any single agency and would not be bound by government rules and regulations that limit state agencies. In more risky ventures, like providing EBT services to other states, this structure would provide the state with some protection from financial loss. The non-profit corporation would report to a board appointed by the governor and be similar in structure to the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation.

3.4 Implementation Timeline

Provided on the following page is a high-level timeline for implementing the ESD strategies for Texas. Throughout this ten-year timeframe, Texas should explore opportunities and be aware of the rapidly changing world of technology that will continue to modify and refine the direction of ESD.

Exhibit 7
01/01/01 - 05/31/01 Legislative Authority - LSG1 & LSG2
06/01/01 - 08/31/02 Plan, Design, Build, Test - LSG1 for Med ID (includes appropriate federal participation and approval)
09/01/01 - 12/31/01 Establish Administrative Structure for LSG2 - ESD Taskforce & DIR Admin Agency
09/01/02 - 01/31/03 Pilot Med ID
09/01/02 - 04/30/03 Plan, Design, Build, Test - LSG1 Child Support (includes appropriate federal participation and approval)
02/01/03 Statewide Rollout - Med ID (LSG1 - first component)
01/01/02 - 08/31/02 Develop Standards, Technical Specifications, Architecture - LSG2
01//01/02 - 12/31/02 Develop Transition Plan for ESD Administrative Functions
05/01/03 - 07/31/03 Pilot Child Support
06/01/03 - 08/31/03 Establish LSG2 Team for: (contracting could occur)
08/01/03 - 08/31/03 Statewide Rollout - Child Support (LSG1 - second component)
09/01/03 - 8/31/04 Plan, Design, Build, Test - LSG2
09/01/04 - 08/31/05 Pilot, Evaluate, Modify Components - LSG2
No later than 09/01/05 Transition All ESD Administrative Functions to DIR (EBT2, WIC, Med ID, Child Support)
09/01/05 - 08/31/06 Transition LSG1 to LSG2
Statewide Rollout - LSG2
06/01/06 - 10/31/06 Develop Legislative Proposal for further exploration of ESD opportunities
01/01/07 - 05/31/07 Legislative Authority for proposed enhancements
06/01/07 - 12/31/07 Complete Analysis of Expansion Opportunities
01/01/08 - 3/31/08 Establish ESD Expansion Team (all or part may be contracted)
04/01/08 - 12/31/08 Plan, Design, Build, Test Expanded ESD
01/01/09 - 12/31/09 Pilot, Evaluate, Modify Expanded ESD
01/01/10 - 09/01/11 Statewide Rollout Expanded ESD
Continued Expansion and Development
01/01/10 - 09/01/11 Continue Research into Opportunities for ESD