Performance Budgeting:

Fiscal Year 2000 Progress in Linking Plans With Budgets

AIMD-99-239R: Published: Jul 30, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO updated its previous report on agencies' fiscal year (FY) 1999 experiences in linking plans and budgets under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, focusing on: (1) identifying agencies that allocated program activity funding to performance goals in their FY 2000 performance plans; and (2) the progress agencies have shown in making these allocations.

GAO noted that: (1) although the number of plans that clearly showed how program activity funding would be allocated to achieve performance rose only slightly between fiscal years 1999 and 2000, noteworthy progress in showing the performance consequences of budget decisions was made; (2) two agencies--the Federal Aviation Administration and the Social Security Administration--made such allocations for the first time in the FY 2000 plans; (3) also, more agencies than last year moved beyond the act's requirement to link program activities and performance goals by indicating the funding levels needed to achieve performance, even if these agencies did not always clearly explain how those amounts were derived from the program activities in their budget requests; (4) however, improvement within GAO's sample of plans was mixed; (5) for example, GAO continues to find no relationship between program activities and performance goals for 3 agencies, and 3 other agencies revised their plan presentations in ways that obscured the relationships that were made in FY 1999; (6) GAO's recent report on agencies' FY 1999 experiences in linking budgetary resources and performance goals described approaches used to show the performance consequences of budget decisions and the challenges that must be addressed for effective performance budgeting; (7) that report recommended that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) develop a constructive and practical agenda to clarify the relationship between budgetary resources and results, beginning with specific guidance for the preparation of agencies' FY 2001 performance plans; (8) in July 1999 testimony before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, OMB pledged to begin during the FY 2001 budget formulation process the performance budgeting pilots called for by the Results Act; (9) also, in conjunction with its guidance for the FY 2001 budget preparation process, the Director of OMB described a set of questions which OMB will discuss with agencies to ensure that the relationship between the budget structure and performance goals is clear and direct; and (10) although OMB's recent actions hold promise for reinforcing and advancing agency efforts to connect resources with results, GAO still encourages OMB--working with agencies--to formally analyze the approaches being developed in order to identify and share what is practical regarding performance budgeting within the federal government.

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