Every organization faces scarcity of resources. Therefore, funding requests need to be prioritized; or in other words, "what is the best investment to make?" State government is a federated organization. Resource prioritization requires balancing the strategic objectives of the Governor, Legislature, agency, and other political interests.
The budgeting process in Utah is being enhanced to enable a strategy-driven and accountability-managed organization that can be agile as political drivers change. This process will evolve, and frequently shifts with administrations. However, the underlying processes for identifying competing interests and providing a sound decision making framework should transition well with administrative shifts.
Role of Performance in Budgeting
The budgeting and accountability process is critical to managing transparency and achieving strategy.
Budget appropriations are made by the legislature. The Governor's Office of Planning and Budget develops the Governor's budget recommendation by compiling and analyzing agency budget requests. The format of these requests includes an explanation of an expected 'return on investment', or effect of the appropriation (i.e. reduced caseload).
In 2008, the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget issued more stringent standards for budget requests. Building block requests (agency requests for new funding) that are over $100k or will involve the hiring of new employees are required to submit a "business case" that provides justification that includes performance metrics and benchmarks as appropriate.
This year's budget guidelines can be found here (FY 2011 Budget Guidelines).