2020 State Standard of Excellence
9. Outcome Data
Did the state or any of its agencies report or require outcome data for its state-funded programs during their budget process?
Using data and evidence as part of the budget process helps state policymakers allocate funds based on information about what works. In particular, collecting information (evidence, outcomes, performance) on the evidence base for state programs allows state budget offices, governors, and legislatures to prioritize funding for those interventions that are most likely to achieve results.
The 2013 Colorado State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Government (SMART) Act required all Colorado state agencies to submit annual performance reports to the state legislature as part of the state’s budget process. These reports include: (1) performance measures for the major functions of the department; (2) performance goals for at least the following three years; (3) a description of the strategies necessary to achieve those goals; and (4) a summary of the department’s most recent performance evaluation. In addition, the state’s FY 2020-2021 budget development instructions (pp. 10-12) prioritize new program requests “based on the evidence and body of research supporting the program’s effect on desired outcomes and proposed implementation plan.” In the FY 2020-2021 budget cycle, the state applied an evidence continuum to budget requests and used that criteria to inform resource allocation decisions.
A 2013 Maryland law requires the Maryland Department of Budget and Management to submit an annual Managing for Results performance report to the state legislature as part of the budget process. This report contains the following information for each state agency: (1) the outcomes or results that have been achieved towards annual performance measures; (2) a three-year review of performance for each of the indicators; and (3) an estimate of expected program outcomes over the subsequent two years.
A 2017 Minnesota law required state agencies to include performance data in their biennial budget documents. Minnesota Management and Budget issued guidance on how to report outcome data to help agencies and departments meet this statutory requirement. In the budgeting process, agencies must identify the evidence base for changes to existing activities. In addition, the state used evidence to inform funding decisions that resulted in $87 million in new or expanded evidence-based programming in the FY 2020-2021 budget.
A 2019 amendment to Mississippi’s 2014 performance-based budgeting law provided strong, more rigorous evidence definitions for evidence-based programs, intervention programs, research-based programs, promising programs. While the law continued to require the Mississippi Departments of Corrections, Health, Education, and Transportation to report during the annual budget process on their programs’ performance and cost-benefit ratio, the amendment authorized the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review to designate additional agencies to comply with the law. Additional agency inventories include: Departments of Revenue and Medicaid. Mississippi’s FY 2022 budget formulation process required all state agencies to include the level of evidence, performance measures, and a fidelity plan for any newly proposed programs.
The Missouri Budget Explorer, launched in 2018, is a public-facing tool that provides transparency on state budget expenditures, hosts department-level budget summaries, and includes information on performance at the programmatic level. The state’s FY 2022 budget instructions for program descriptions required each department to provide a standard set of performance measures for more than 600 major state programs, including quality, impact, and efficiency.
A 1999 New Mexico law required all state agencies to submit annual performance-based budget requests that include output, outcome, performance, and evaluation data. The 2019 Evidence and Research Based Funding Requests Act amended the 1999 law by defining four tiers of evidence and further requiring certain state agencies (selected annually by the state legislature) to “identify each sub-program as evidence-based, research-based, promising, or lacking evidence of effectiveness” and report on the funding amount allocated for each of these evidence tiers. In FY 2021, the Departments of Corrections, Children, Youth, and Families, and Human Services were designated to submit these program inventories, which resulted in 6%, 8%, and nearly 5% increases in appropriations, respectively. The Legislative Finance Committee recommended expanding more than $13.6 million for evidence-based human services and child and family programs, along with continued funding for other evidence-based programs and services.
North Carolina requires budget requests for new and expanded programs and services to include evidence and research supporting the program’s goals, as well as the governor’s strategic priorities. For the FY 2020-2021 budget development process, the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management further encouraged the use of evidence through an optional change request process where agencies and budget office staff worked collaboratively to develop data-driven and evidence-based pilots. Agencies who opted-in were given additional time to work with a diverse set of state stakeholders to develop evidence-based approaches before submitting their final budget requests.
A 2016 Oregon law requires all state agencies to develop and implement performance measures. The agencies must also submit to the Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office an Annual Performance Progress Report detailing the agency’s programmatic outcomes, which are reviewed during the state’s budget process.
A 1996 Rhode Island law requires state agencies to submit performance information as part of the state’s budget process. The state’s Office of Performance Management collects this performance data and works with agencies to achieve performance goals. The state’s FY 2021 budget instructions required agencies to demonstrate program efficiency, effectiveness, and/or improvement of outcomes – not simply count activities and outputs.
Tennessee’s FY 2020-2021 budget instructions aligned the governor’s priorities with agency strategic plans. The instructions also encouraged agencies to invest in programs that were supported by research and evidence and, if not, consider conducting evaluations. The Cost Increase Request Form invited agencies to highlight their programs’ level of evidence based on the four tiers of evidence defined by the state’s Office of Evidence and Impact.
The Utah state legislature emphasizes outcomes in its budget process by collecting high-level performance metrics and targets with each appropriations line item. Along with this, each new or expanded state program in the proposed budget requires a performance note, which are documented in Utah’s Compendium of Budget Information. Utah’s business case form for new budget requests also asks for evidence from the existing quality throughput over operational expenses (QT/OE) measure; if not available, then agencies are asked to propose one. If requests are ultimately funded, they are formalized by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget for ongoing monitoring. To further support operational management best practices, the Utah Legislative Auditor General provides the new program (or agency) with information on management best practices.