Foresighted Planning and Budgeting Needed for Public Buildings Program

PAD-80-95: Published: Sep 9, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1980.

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GAO examined the planning and budgeting for public buildings managed by the General Services Administration (GSA). GAO compared the major features of successful capital investment planning and budgeting with the practices of the Federal Government in public buildings programs. The effective processes include: (1) long-term and short-term planning for the entire program or organization; (2) capital investment priorities that are established at the program or organizational level and consider all requirements; (3) a direct link between planning and budgeting; and (4) a high priority for maintenance along with a recognition that funds are sometimes quite limited.

The public buildings program managed by GSA does not adequately establish program priorities, link planning to budgeting, or provide for effective maintenance and major repair. The existing congressional authorization process does not require GSA or Congress to establish priorities or to link authorization and planning to budgeting. The GSA case-by-case submission of prospectuses under current authorization procedures forces decisionmaking with no knowledge of a particular project's place in the overall program mission. Because these procedures do not link planning and authorization to budgeting, the funds that are available may not go to carrying out the highest priority. Case-by-case decisionmaking also prohibits judicious analysis of alternative approaches to meeting program objectives.

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