Budget Issues:

Budget Scorekeeping for Acquisition of Federal Buildings

T-AIMD-94-189: Published: Sep 20, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 1994.

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GAO discussed proposed changes to the current budget scorekeeping rules for the acquisition of federal buildings. GAO noted that: (1) budget scorekeeping rules require that the budget authority to purchase assets be recorded in the budget so that decisionmakers can take the full cost of their decisions into account; (2) the General Services Administration (GSA) has the option of either purchasing existing buildings, entering into lease-purchase contracts, or using short- or long-term operating leases to satisfy its long-term office space requirements; (3) GSA acquisition choices should not be influenced by budget scorekeeping rules; (4) budget scorekeeping should be neutral, allowing GSA to evaluate ownership or leasing options on their relative cost-effectiveness; (5) proposed changes to the scorekeeping rules would encourage GSA to enter into more lease-purchases to fulfill its office space requirements; (6) although GSA routinely conducts cost/benefit analyses of its building capital investments and proposed leasing projects, in many cases it has not proposed the most cost-effective option; and (7) the unanticipated effects of scorekeeping changes must be carefully considered in light of the deficiencies in the current process which favors operating leases.

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