June 15, 2005

Accountability and Results in Federal Budgeting

Key materials
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Since the passage of the Government Performance and Results Act, agencies have made slow but measurable progress towards the integration of budget and performance information. However, much work still needs to be done. Many agencies are still at the stage of allocating budgets among strategic goals, too high a level for any meaningful performance-based budgeting. Unfortunately, Congress pays little attention to the annual reports it requires agencies to produce. When Congress does begin to use the information in agency reports, it will motivate agencies to produce better results, better measures, and better data.

The Bush Administration has attempted to use performance information in its budgetary decisions through development and implementation of the Program Assessment Rating Tool. The PART approach does have merits, but it is not above criticism. Despite its shortcomings, PART is a consistent and transparent attempt at performance budgeting.