Monday, April 13, 2009

Using Results to Guide State Budget Decisions

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times reports that, in spite of stimulus funding, states are severely cutting programs for the most vulnerable:
Battered by the recession and the deepest and most widespread budget deficits in several decades, a large majority of states are slicing into their social safety nets — often crippling preventive efforts that officials say would save money over time….“There’s no question that we’re getting short-term savings that will result in greater long-term human and financial costs,” said Linda J. Blessing, interim chief of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, expressing the concerns of officials and community agencies around the country. “There are no good options, just less bad options.” is designed to help policymakers make effective budget decisions that will both protect the most vulnerable and achieve long-term results for their state. Based on research-informed policies, states can maximize federal funding, create returns on investment and generate savings, using a set of principles:

• Protect the most vulnerable.
• Focus on results.
• Maximize return on investment – over the short and long term.
• Stimulate the economy by investing in children and families.
• Strengthen community resources.
• Seize the opportunity for reform.

For more information on guidelines and strategies during tight budget times to set priorities, focus on results, and avoid short-term cuts that may devastate vulnerable children and families for the long-term.

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