July 17, 2007

An Analysis of the Office of Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating Tool for FY 2008

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With the release of the Bush Administration’s proposed budget for FY 2008, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has completed assessing 973 programs representing 96 percent of the federal budget with the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). PART was initiated with the FY 2004 budget in an effort to encourage agencies to report on programs goals, and results, and develop performance measures in order to help inform funding decisions.

OMB presents PART as the Executive’s attempt to motivate agencies to comply with the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), passed by Congress in 1993. GPRA requires agencies to articulate the results they seek to accomplish for citizens, state how they will measure those results, and report annually on the measures. Agencies are further required by GPRA to produce strategic plans, annual reports, and performance reports.

Senior Research Fellow Eileen Norcross and Research Associate Joseph Adamson analyze the results of PART to see how agencies have been rated over the five year period. They examine how much of agency budgets fall into different ratings categories, how ratings have changed for programs assessed multiple times, and how different types of programs fare in the PART ratings.

The ideas presented in this research are the authors' and do not represent official positions of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.