Jun. 29, 2015

HARRISBURG – Co-sponsored by Reps. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) and Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), the Results First Act (House Bill 1205), which would provide the Independent Fiscal Office with legal authority to obtain data from Commonwealth agencies to analyze the effectiveness of government assistance programs, was advanced by the state House today.

“Far too often, government gauges the success of a particular program by the number of people enrolled, while completely failing to determine whether the program is effectively helping to lift these individuals out of poverty,” said Dunbar. “With today’s passage of House Bill 1205, Pennsylvania is now one step closer to implementing a proven outcome-based measurement system to greatly assist the state Legislature in identifying which programs that work and which do not, fostering greater transparency in government funding, while simultaneously empowering providers to deliver services that work.”

As co-chairmen of the House Majority Policy Committee’s Outcomes that Matter Task Force, Cutler and Dunbar explore specific aspects of ongoing efforts to combat poverty on a greater scale. After 18 months of research and meetings across the Commonwealth with various stakeholders and service providers, Cutler, Dunbar and other members of the task force determined that it would be beneficial for the Commonwealth to develop a partnership with the Pew-MacArthur Results First initiative. This is a collective data gathering and analyzing system that works with government entities to provide cost-benefit analyses for specific topic areas within government.

“Through this partnership, we will be able to determine which programs will be the most beneficial for the Commonwealth,” Cutler said. “Rather than investing the taxpayers’ hard-earned money into programs that aren’t effective, this legislation will enable us to direct money to help residents in the most effective way possible.”

Once enacted, House Bill 1205 would allow the Independent Fiscal Office to gather the data from various state agencies and input the collected information into Pew’s Results First Matrix model. Pew would also be authorized to train existing IFO employees on the Results First matrix model and work in tandem with them to analyze and calculate long-term costs paid by taxpayers and the benefits achieved by these costs across multiple government programs.

The results of the calculations would then be published in an easy-to-read online portal allowing policymakers and the general public the ability to see the original intent and history of the program, as well as the overall effectiveness for each program.

“It’s hard to know if folks are really transitioning out of poverty without conducting any type of assessment,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana). “For far too long, government has only counted the number of people served by these programs, not whether or not their lives were actually positively affected. This tool helps government redesign our programs, assuring all folks are able to achieve their version of the American Dream.”

House Bill 1205 now advances to the state Senate for consideration.

Representative George Dunbar
56th District
Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin