Nearly all states have imposed some level of budget cuts — some quite deep — since the recession began in 2008. But very few have established systematic ways of sorting programs that are working from those that aren’t.
That’s problematic. Without a serious evaluation of program effectiveness, politics tend to dictate important budget decisions, and arguments over stakeholder interests and political palatability drown out important questions of real-world impact.
As a result, states and cities respond to record budget shortfalls with across-the-board cuts, and some vital public services end up on the chopping block unnecessarily.This article was originally published in Governing.