Policy Documents

Use Performance Reviews to Identify Cost Savings

Government accountability has taken on new meaning. Units of government are accountable when they explain to citizens the services they receive from tax dollars, how spending effects citizens' lives or those of loved ones, and whether programs are efficient or wasteful. Performance reviews should be part of this accountability process.

According to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), one way to improve a state budget process is through the use of a performance review, "which systematically identifies ways to save money and move government in the right direction." (May 2004) The group notes reviews can help governments find "better and smarter ways to deliver services" and produce savings that are "lasting and real."

Elected officials have used performance reviews this decade to save tax dollars and improve the delivery of services.

New Mexico Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson ordered a performance review of state government upon taking office, promising that $89 million could be saved in the state's multi-billion dollar general operating budget, the DLC reported. The first phase of the review produced 92 recommendations resulting in savings that were projected to increase to $100 million annually.

Performance reviews can save tax dollars. Performance review efforts in other states should be studied and pursued in Arkansas.

  • Performance reviews should be undertaken in each state department to identify potential cost savings.