Two Years In, 'Budgeting For Results' Still Ramping Up

Aug 14, 2013

Members of the Budgeting for Results Commission at a hearing Tuesday in Springfield.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

An Illinois government panel trying to help the state set spending priorities is already at work on next year's budget. But after two years, the group is still waiting for the chance to make its mark on spending.

The idea behind Budgeting for Results is to focus state spending on agencies and programs that meet a list of seven priorities, like education or public safety.

But although the Budgeting for Results Commission has been meeting, taking testimony, and publishing reports for about two years, its work has yet to affect the budget.

Commissioner Steve Schnorf was a state budget director in the Edgar and Ryan administrations. He says a lot of the work so far has been behind the scenes, but it should be more visible in the coming year.

"I think you will see discussion of perhaps money that is migrating from one program to another," he says.

Schnorf says, for example, if a contractor has a grant to help keep ex-cons from going back to prison — it should lose money if most of its participants end up back behind bars.

Of course, the reality of getting legislation through the General Assembly means the state often budgets not for results, but for politics.