The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in Mississippi
In December 2012, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves extended a formal partnership invitation to the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. As chair and vice chair of the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Gunn and Reeves intend to use the Results First model to support their broader goal of building a performance-based budgeting system in the state. They selected the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Herb Frierson and Eugene “Buck” Clarke, to lead the effort in their respective chambers. Representative Toby Barker and Senator Terry Burton were tasked with assisting Frierson and Clarke in assessing the state’s strategic planning framework and proposing needed changes.
The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER, agreed to provide staff support to the joint budget committee for this effort and adopted a three-pronged approach to provide the Legislature with better information for resource-allocation decisions. Those areas are:
- Assisting legislative leadership in establishing statewide priorities (i.e., the most important goals, policies, and issues that leadership wants to focus on and measure over time).
- Creating an inventory of state agency programs, including:
- Basis. Is the program research- or evidence-based?
- Performance measures and targets. With a focus on outcomes and results, determine the reliability of reported data.
Staff members from the PEER committee make up the core of the technical team implementing the Results First cost-benefit analysis model. PEER is well-suited for this role because it routinely conducts performance evaluations, investigations, and expenditure reviews of state government agencies to support the Legislature in its oversight role and in making state government more effective, efficient, and accountable. Max Arinder, director of PEER, and Brian Dickerson, senior analyst, lead the technical team, and Linda Triplett, performance improvement methodologist, and David Pray, fiscal accountability methodologist, are responsible for the technical aspects of the performance-based budgeting revitalization effort. Staffs from the Legislative Budget Office and the departments of Corrections, Education, and Human Services are providing critical resources to help ensure the ultimate sustainability of the accountability improvement effort.
The technical team began implementing the criminal justice component of the Results First model in January 2013 and began work on the education and juvenile justice components in July 2013.
The technical team plans to complete initial implementation of the adult criminal justice component in spring 2014 with the goal of producing a detailed report, including a full inventory of programs provided by the Department of Corrections and a cost-benefit analysis of those programs that are identified as evidence-based. The team also plans to provide an initial review of the program inventory work underway by the Department of Education and the Division of Youth Services at the Department of Human Services in spring 2014.