Governor Directs Administration to Cut Costs, Increase Efficiency Using Honest, Common-Sense Budgeting Methods


SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an Executive Order directing the California Department of Finance (DOF) to incorporate common sense program-evaluation methods into the budgeting process, in order to fund programs based on their necessity and effectiveness. The Order’s goal is to cut costs and increase efficiency in this and future year state budgets.

The program-evaluation methods directed in the Executive Order include zero-based budgeting, performance measures, strategic planning, audits, cost-benefit analyses and program reviews.

The administration is already using program-evaluation budget methods to cut costs and excess. Yesterday, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) announced its plan to establish the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) along with reforms to its structure. These changes are the result of Governor Brown’s 2011 May Revision, which directed streamlining and efficiency measures at DMH to enhance patient care and overall safety.

“We examined spending at the Department of Mental Health and used zero-based budgeting to lower costs while maintaining appropriate treatments and enhancing safety,” said Department of Finance Director Ana Matosantos. “As a result, DMH will achieve total General Fund savings in the current budget year of about $120 million and about $183 million in the 2012-2013 budget year.”

Under today’s Executive Order, DOF must present a plan within 90 days to modify the budget process to incorporate program-evaluation methods.

The Governor committed to issuing this Executive Order in his October 9, 2011 veto message of Senate Bill 14 (Wolk).

The full text of the Executive Order is below:


WHEREAS substantial steps have been taken to reduce California’s fiscal deficit, but additional measures are necessary both to cut state spending and improve operational efficiency; and

WHEREAS the State’s budgeting method focuses on incremental changes to the prior year’s funding, rather than a deeper review of a department or program; and

WHEREAS California needs a better approach to its budgeting; and

WHEREAS there are many methods, including zero-based budgeting, performance measures, strategic planning, audits, cost-benefit analyses, and program reviews, that can assist in increasing effectiveness and achieving a balanced budget; and

WHEREAS many departments have effective methods to evaluate and improve programs, yet these successes are often not shared with the public or other departments; and

WHEREAS employing these methods requires close collaboration with the Legislature to establish mutual agreement on establishing program goals and how to measure performance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, issue this Order to become effective immediately:

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Director of Finance shall create a plan for modifying the budget process to increase efficiency and focus on accomplishing program goals. The plan should be developed in collaboration with agency secretaries and department directors and submitted to the Governor’s Office within 90 days of this Order.

It should outline the following:

1. A strategy to incorporate program-evaluation methods into the budget process for selected activities and programs. These methods include zero-based budgeting, performance measures, strategic planning, audits, cost-benefit analyses, and program reviews.
2. Ways to ensure transparency about program goals, outcomes, and funding.
3. A process for collaborating with the Legislature, particularly in establishing program goals and measuring program outcomes.
4. A structure to work with local governments to develop methods to measure and evaluate performance of state-funded, locally-administered programs.
5. An implementation timeline beginning with the release of the 2012-13 Governor’s Budget.

This Executive Order is not intended to create, and does not create, any rights or benefits, whether substantive or procedural, or enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California or its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State and that it be given widespread publicity and notice.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 7th day of December, 2011.

Governor of California


Secretary of State