Senator Bob Mensch: Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

One of the most significant changes to the Pennsylvania state budget process is taking shape as the work of the Performance-Based Budget Board picks up steam in Harrisburg.

Implemented though legislation I authored, Act 48 of 2017, performance-based budgeting goes beyond simply setting spending levels and instead develops measures to grade the outcomes of expenditures for state agencies and tax credit programs. With such measurements, we can eliminate unnecessary spending and adjust programs to achieve their stated purpose.

The agencies to be reviewed during the first year are the Department of Corrections, the Board of Probation and Parole, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, the Department of Banking and Securities, and the Department of General Services. Tax credits reviewed in year one include the Film Production, New Jobs and Historical Preservation Incentive tax credits.

The Performance-Based Budget Board met recently to review and vote on reports, prepared by the state Independent Fiscal Office, which looked at program funding levels and expected results. The five-member board is made up of the state Budget Secretary, the Republican and Democratic chairs of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee.

These reports, which will be updated at least every five years, will help the General Assembly and the Administration produce budgets that reflect reality, and ensure that the budget is  determined by performance and not precedent. Pennsylvania is one of the few states leading this change, and it’s my hope this new tool will be used to make government more efficient and accountable.

I encourage you to visit the Independent Fiscal Office webpage for more information on performance-based budget reviews and schedules, as well as video of the hearings that have taken place thus far.

Sincerely,

Senator Bob Mensch (24th District)