The 4 Key Questions of Budgeting

gombadmin Blog

by Kristen Cox, Executive Director

As GOMB comes to the final stretch of preparing the Governor’s budget recommendations, we find ourselves asking the same 4 key questions time and time again …

1. How do we know if the programs and services the state provides really work?

In concert with the new budgeting process, GOMB is in the process of implementing an evidenced-based approach to service delivery. This approach is aimed at ensuring that government programs can quantify the impact of a program or service. Having a good idea isn’t enough. Government must define core program objectives and the key outcomes and results necessary to evaluate effectiveness. Simply put, key activities resulting in direct outcomes provide evidence that those same activities demonstrate progress toward long-term success.

2. How much should we spend?

Without understanding the internal operations of a system, it is virtually impossible to know how much money is needed to be successful. GOMB has made great strides to connect the budget process with operational performance. For purposes of the Governor’s budget, requests for additional revenue will be increasingly required to demonstrate the quality of existing services and the “if and how” current capacity has been exceeded before additional money is invested. This rigorous process resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of budget requests received this year—from 323 for SFY 2015 to 199 for SFY 2016.

3. Are we getting the outcomes we want?

Governor Herbert challenged state agencies to improve performance. GOMB recognizes the many efforts underway in virtually all agencies to improve service delivery and program effectiveness. The quality, throughput, and operational expense SUCCESS Framework measurement of (QT/OE) has been calculated for 46 systems (services and/or programs). Of the 46, 23 have experienced improvements above 10 percent and 15 reported increases exceeding 20 percent. The remaining systems show mixed results and agencies are working to sustain improvements above baseline levels. This fluctuation is in line with GOMB expectations as some systems require more time to show gains than others.

4. What will we need in the future?

Despite Utah’s strong economic climate, the demand for services will continue to outpace revenue as Utah’s population grows. GOMB will continue to address both short and long-term needs by developing funding models to meet a growing demand for services.