Program Based Budgeting Message

Welcome to the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Governor’s Budget Recommendation.  Building the state budget each year is an important process within state government.  It impacts everyone. It reflects our shared values. Finally, it provides the fiscal blueprint by which state revenues are translated into real programs and services that serve the Commonwealth’s residents.

But while the final budget numbers are important, the method by which a budget is developed and presented is vital in shaping those decisions and engaging with the people government serves.  For too long, the presentation of the Budget has been more about satisfying accounting requirements than providing comprehensive information on how your taxpayer dollars are being spent.  The Patrick-Murray Administration has been commended for its record in making the budget more accessible and transparent, but there is still more to do. 

That is why the Governor’s FY14 Budget Recommendation is being presented in a different way than those that have come before it.

Changing the way budgets are developed and presented is a key part of reforming state government – making it more open, more accountable and more focused on the results that matter to the people it serves.

What is new about this year’s budget?

This year, the Governor’s Budget Recommendation for FY14 is presented in a new program format for the first time. 

  • The traditional account presentation of the budget answers the question:  how much are we spending and what agency is doing the spending?
  • The program budget answers the question:  what are we doing with the dollars we spend?

What is the difference in these two views of the budget?

In presenting the budget recommendation in program format, the Administration is making clear to the public what its tax dollars are funding in terms that we all can understand.  Each program is shown with all sources of funding for that program which are either appropriated or administered by the Commonwealth.  This “all funds” approach gives a clearer picture of the full value of our spending for each program.

How are we linking budgets to performance?

With this Budget, the Patrick-Murray Administration also announces the launch of MassResults, the next phase in its efforts to make state government more effective and efficient.  Led by the Office of Commonwealth Performance, Accountability and Transparency (CPAT), this initiative builds on the work done to date to change the way state government does business.

A critical first step in the MassResults program is comprehensive strategic planning across the Executive Department.  Alongside the budget this year, each of the eight Secretariats of state government has published a two-year strategic plan.  These plans set out the strategic goals of the Patrick-Murray Administration through 2014, the key actions that will be pursued to achieve them and the outcome measures that will be used to determine whether these goals are being met.  This has never been done before across the Executive Department. 

The publication of strategic plans alongside the new program budget enables citizens of the Commonwealth to see not only what their resources are supporting but also what this Administration is looking to achieve with this funding.  This represents an unprecedented level of accountability, but it is only a start. 

Through the MassResults program, the Patrick-Murray Administration will continue to integrate public investments and performance management.  A year from now, alongside the FY15 Governor’s Budget Recommendation, each Secretariat will publish a performance report setting out how well it has performed against its goals.  Similarly, for select programs, performance outcome measures will be developed that enable the results achieved by those programs to be assessed.  This information will be used to inform future budget and policy decisions and help improve program effectiveness.  By using “performance-based program budgeting,” as it is known, state government will improve planning, budget decision-making and the overall management of the vital services people rely on.