May 4, 2011

Performance Based Budgeting

Testimony Before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee
Key materials

Transparent government spending is an achievable reality. In fact, some state and national governments are taking the lead. They have discovered that the most valuable tools in this process are greater transparency and a clear focus on producing results that create a public benefit. The results speak for themselves: declining and disappearing deficits, more efficient allocation of resources, and high approval ratings from citizens who are happy to reward their politicians for improved accountability. Here I will discuss some of the guiding principles for developing clear and accountable budgets and how various governments have implemented these principles on a practical level. These examples may need to be adapted to apply to unique situations, but there is no reason to let minor obstacles stand in the way of greater transparency and increased public confidence in the electoral system.

A Budgeting for Results Checklist

 Know what public benefit each appropriation is supposed to produce.

 Allocate funding based on a clear measure of the public benefit that will be produced.

 Insist on measures that tell if that public benefit is being created.

 Review performance to see it is meeting expectations.

 Use performance reviews to determine the next year's funding decisions.

 Conduct the whole process with the greatest possible transparency so that expectations of what is to be delivered and possible future improvements are apparent to all.