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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman May 20, 2013

Legislature has shown no interest in accountability budgeting

Gov. Rick Scott wants state agencies to account for every dollar.

During the 2010 campaign he said: "Rick will institute Accountability Budgeting. He will make each state agency set annual goals for every dollar they spend, then measure their performance against those goals and hold them accountable for their outcomes."

So is there a dollar-for-dollar defense by every state agency?

To answer briefly, no. The Legislature hasn't shown any interest.

We rated Scott's promise In the Works after he proposed accountability budgeting in 2011. The Legislature wasn't interested, and for the 2012-13 year, Scott proposed an accountability budget for three state agencies as a pilot.

The Legislature failed to adopt it, Scott spokesman John Tupps told PolitiFact Florida.

"Gov. Scott works very closely with each state agency to justify expenditures before they go into his recommended budget," Tupps wrote in an email.

When it comes to campaign promises, we rate the promises based on outcomes, not intentions. The Legislature has shown they don't intend to adopt accountability budgeting. So we rate this Promise Broken.

Our Sources

Interview, John Tupps, Gov. Rick Scott spokesman, May 10, 2013

Becky Bowers
By Becky Bowers January 4, 2012

Scott tries a second time with scaled-down pilot project

Candidate Rick Scott promised "to force the bureaucrats in Tallahassee to justify every tax dollar they spend."

One way to do that, he said, was to use "accountability budgeting."

It's the very first step in the governor's seven-step campaign plan he said would yield 700,000 jobs in seven years.

What is it?

Scott's plan said he would make state agencies set annual goals for every dollar they spent, measure their performance against those goals — then hold them accountable for their outcomes.
His first budget as governor, released on Feb. 7, 2011, put those words onto paper. (Here's the proposed implementing legislation for that budget.) It asked agencies to suggest performance measures, and laid out carrot and stick responses for agencies' success or failure.

But the governor's budget recommendations had to be approved by the Legislature. So while Scott's first budget made progress on instituting his form of "accountability budgeting," we waited to see how legislators would respond and rated the promise In the Works. (He also proposed a biennial budget, a promise we're tracking separately.)

What happened?

As the Governor's Office put it, "the Legislature did not have an interest in implementing this proposal."

Still, the governor's at it again for fiscal year 2012-13.

On Dec. 7, 2011, Scott proposed an accountability budget for three state agencies as a pilot. If it's successful, the governor plans to eventually expand the approach to all agencies, the Governor's Office told PolitiFact Florida in a written response to our request for an update.

Scott chose agencies that "have experience tracking agency service progress":

• Department of Revenue

• Department of Law Enforcement

• Office of Financial Regulation within the Department of Financial Services

Scott's campaign promise was to implement accountability budgeting for each state agency, not just three. Still, in the face of last year's unsupportive Legislature, he's trying a more modest proposal he can expand over time. That's a common sense approach to implementing an agenda, and enough for us to keep this promise In the Works.

Our Sources

Email interview with Brian Burgess, communications director, Governor's Office, Dec. 7, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott's Communications Office, written responses to PolitiFact's questions about the Scott-O-Meter, Dec. 28, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott, "Policy and Budget Recommendations: Fiscal Year 2012-2013," Dec. 7, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott, proposed budget implementing legislation, released Feb. 7, 2011

PolitiFact Scott-O-Meter, Propose biennial budgets and give the public time to participate, updated Jan. 5, 2011

St. Petersburg Times, "Scott's budget boosts schools, hits hospitals," Dec. 8, 2011

Governor's Office, "Governor Scott Unveils Florida"s First "Jobs Budget” Before a Capacity Crowd in Eustis," Feb. 7, 2011

2011 Florida Statutes, Chapter 216: Planning and Budgeting, accessed Dec. 8, 2011

Aaron Sharockman
By Aaron Sharockman February 11, 2011

Performance measures proposed, complete with rewards and punishments

Gov. Rick Scott promised to run government more like a business, arguing that government fails to adequately control costs or adjust to the changing dynamics of the economy.

To that end, Scott pledged during the campaign to bring greater accountability to state government spending.

He said he wanted to "measure the living daylights" out of state government through a process he called accountability budgeting. "Rick will institute accountability budgeting," Scott promised as part of his seven-step plan to create 700,000 private-sector jobs. "He will make each state agency set annual goals for every dollar they spend, then measure their performance against those goals and hold them accountable for their outcomes." 

His two-year budget, released on Feb. 7, 2011, puts those words onto paper.

Scott's budget proposal and the accompanying implementation legislation includes new standards for justifying government programs.

Terms of just how agencies and programs will be measured are somewhat hazy, but Scott clearly intends to create a "performance-based accountability budget."

Scott has asked, by Sept. 1, 2011, that each state agency review and analyze current performance measures, and suggest new performance measures. He said outcomes must be clearly delineated for each program, and that expenditures must be justified to meet the outcomes. Scott also wants to task Florida's chief inspector general, a employee of the governor, to help coordinate and lead the implementation and monitoring of the new performance measures.

The inspector general will have the ability to "advise in the development of performance measures, standards and procedures for the evaluation of state agency programs," and "review the actions taken by a state agency to improve program performance and meet program standards."

The creation of performance measures comes with both a carrot and a stick.

Incentives for meeting the performance measures include retention of up to 50 percent of all unspent funds, which could be used for lump-sum bonuses, employee training or technology improvements.

Failure to meet the performance goals carries a wide possibility of disincentives. Agencies could be required to provide mandatory reports on progress to meet the standards, or be summoned to appear before the governor and Cabinet. They could have their program eliminated, outsourced or restructured. Or they could have positions or money stripped from the program, or both.

The governor's budget recommendations still must be approved by the Legislature, so while Scott has made progress on instituting his form of "accountability budgeting," we have to wait to see how legislators respond. For now, we rate this promise In the Works.

Our Sources

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