Legislative leaders tout performance budgeting

FRIERSON

FRIERSON

By Bobby Harrison

Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation with “humongous” problems.

To solve those problems, Frierson said Mississippi’s political leadership must ensure efficiency and effectiveness in their budgeting for state agencies.

Frierson, House Speaker Philip Gunn, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and others said the performance-based budgeting plan it unveiled during a Thursday afternoon news conference will help them be more efficient in their budgeting.

“Taxpayers deserve a strong return on their investment in state government,” Reeves said in preparedremarks provided after the news conference. “Under this plan, we’ll see the results of government programs, and if they aren’t working they will be eliminated to allow for targeted investment in our priorities.”

The strategic plan for performance and budgetary success does not necessarily mean an essential agency like transportation or education will be eliminated, Gunn explained. But after data is gathered and studied over a period of years, it might mean their state sources might need to be spent a different way to try to achieve better results.

Gunn said the key is that there will be a mind-set change from “what is government buying? to what is government accomplishing?”

The state enacted performance-based budgeting measures in the 1990s. But that law, Gunn and others said, did not require agency heads and policymakers to take data over a period of years and analyze it to try to determine what is and is not working.

Reeves said the new method will be more work for agency leaders and policymakers, but ensure better results for the taxpayers.

The 14-member Legislative Budget Committee, which consists of Gunn, Reeves and other legislative leaders, will begin the process of compiling the data when it meets in September to start the process of developing a budget plan for the full Legislature to use as a starting point when it convenes in 2015.

But Reeves and Gunn said it would take multiple years to fully enact the plan. At the beginning the plan will target corrections, transportation, health and education.

bobby.harrison@journalinc.com