The President's FY
2006 budget proposal focuses on demonstrable results and reflects a
willingness to hold programs and agencies accountable if they fail
to perform. The President's budget was released with the third
round of Performance Assessment Ratings Tool (PART) scores, which
are a way to gauge the effectiveness of government programs. The
budget relies on PART scores to support terminating 99 programs and
significantly reducing 55 others. In using PART so sensibly, the
President demonstrates his resolve to hold the line on wasteful
PART: A Government
2002 and produced annually by the White House's Office of
Management and Budget (OMB), PART assesses the purpose, planning,
management, and accountability of individual government agencies. Each agency or program
receives an overall grade from "effective" to "ineffective" by
combining the scores in these four areas. "Results not
demonstrated," which is a temporary ranking, indicates that a
program or agency cannot even measure its effectiveness. More than
600 government programs and agencies have now completed their
initial PART reviews, while the remainder will undergo this process
in the next two budgets.
and agencies do not stand up well to this scrutiny. Only 15 percent
of the programs evaluated were rated "effective," although
another26 percent came in at "moderately effective." A quarter by
at "adequate," 30 percent were rated "results not determined," and
22 programs were found to be "ineffective."
Budgeting Based on
FY 2006 budget proposal cuts spending on programs that fail to make
the grade. In fact, there is an encouraging correlation between
performance and spending.
Change for FY 2005 to FY 2006
||All Spending Percentage change
||Discretionary Spending only
|| + 3.1 %
|| + 1.2 %
|| + 2.5 %
|| + 1.3 %
|| + 1.2 %
|| - 3.2 %
|Results Not Determined
|| - 1.5 %
|| - 4.0 %
|| - 19.7 %
|| - 21.2 %
are encouraging, but there is room for even more fiscal tightening.
The nearly 20 percent reduction in spending on "ineffective"
programs could have been more than 40 percent if the budget had not
reprogrammed nearly $4 billion of the reductions into additional
spending on similar budget items.
Substantiating the Cuts and
after the President's budget, Major Savings and Reforms in the
President's 2006 Budget details all of the budget's major cuts and
Each page summarizes a funding proposal, gives background on the
program or agency affected, and documents the reasons for the
reduction in spending.
All told, the
President's discretionary budget outlines $8.8 billion in savings
from the 99 terminations and $11.2 billion in savings from 55
program reductions and other reforms. Because of the reprogrammed
spending mentioned above, this number does not translate directly
into deficit reduction, but nevertheless, it is a logical step to
trim the growth of the federal budget by targeting the marginal and
The Next Step
The President's list of 155 savings options,
largely grounded in PART evaluations, provides a $20 billion
opportunity for members of Congress. Congress should make the most
of this chance by adopting the savings while foregoing any
reprogramming of these funds elsewhere.
is Research Assistant in, and Alison Acosta Fraser is Director of,
the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The
Data from Program Assessment Ratings
Tool, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2006, with calculations by
the Heritage Foundation.
Medicare (11.3 % increase with Medicare included).