Saylor Legislation Requires Performance-Based Budgeting
HARRISBURG - The House State Government Committee yesterday approved legislation authored by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) that would require the administration to deliver a budget each year that bases proposed funding for state agencies and departments on their performance in the prior fiscal year.

House Bill 726 would create the Performance, Accountability and Results Act, requiring state agencies to detail the cost of achieving the goal(s) for each program or activity they are undertaking with taxpayer monies. Also, in the subsequent budget year, they must report the actual outputs and outcomes achieved for each program activity in each agency and their actual costs.

“No business owner can go to a bank and ask for a loan to expand his or her operations without showing a detailed plan of past performances for the most recent years along with a plan and projected success for the expansion he or she is requesting a loan for,” Saylor said. “It is high time the taxpayers of Pennsylvania have a detailed accounting of how their money is being managed and whether the goals it is being spent on are being achieved.”

Specifically, agencies would be required to detail program goals at the mid-level and lower levels of the agency, including performance indicators that define whether the agencies’ use of taxpayer monies has been successful. Descriptions of the strategies for how the goals are to be achieved include all of the following:

o The processes, skills, technology, and other resources required to meet those goals.
o Any new initiative or program activity.
o Any new approaches or methods that will be adopted or revised.
o The means of avoiding unnecessary costs and expenditures.

The administration would be required to submit a budget that asks for no more money for each program than can be shown was a successful use of taxpayer money in the previous budget cycle. While the General Assembly would be free to lower or raise limits within the proposed budget, a paper trail of this nature makes more than just the head of the agency accountable for successes or failure.

“One of the biggest problems with the size of state agencies and departments is that the one person at the top often is the only one who takes the blame for wasted taxpayer dollars,” Saylor said. “But, as legislators who see these agency heads come and justify their money ‘asks’ each budget cycle, we know that many project failures and instances of wasted money have origins that are deeply institutionalized and difficult to root out. With this legislation, policy makers, the attorney general, and the auditor general will have the documentation available to justify eliminating budget line items, or entire departments, if the facts warrant it.”

House Majority Whip Stan Saylor
94th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Charles Lardner
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