Last week, a Texas official told some state legislators about his performance reviews of Texas government. A performance review evaluates government agencies and programs, with the goal of saving money, increasing efficiency, and improving service. They often identify services that are better performed by the private sector. In Texas, billions of dollars have been saved over the past decade as a result of these reviews.
Our legislature has a committee that performs reviews like this on a smaller scale, and the PEER committee, as it�s known, has an excellent, capable staff. But the limited scope of their reports can often be marginalized or simply ignored. The most effective type of review is concentrated in time (usually six-to-nine months), is comprehensive in scope, and includes dozens of state employees who see every day where the inefficiencies are in state government. That combination draws attention from all corners and is more likely to lead to action on their recommendations.
Before pouring more money into government programs, legislators should approve a performance review to identify ways to make better use of the money they are already taking.