A novel approach to budgeting for government modernization – ideas for new leaders

March 30, 2020

By the IBM Center for Government and the Shared Services Leadership Coalition

One of the first major policy requirements for any new president is to submit a budget proposal to Congress. For recently elected administrations, this budget is usually presented in February—less than a month into a first term—followed by a more detailed request later in the spring. Presidential transition teams often begin preparing their budget proposals before inauguration.

Rising deficits and debt constrain spending and make the budget process increasingly more difficult. As a result, the government needs to find creative approaches to pay for current and future operations, especially with the added pressure created by the recent economic stimulus plan. One option for federal leaders and agencies is to encourage the private sector to invest in modernizing government operations.

To address these challenges, the IBM Center for the Business of Government and the Shared Services Leadership Coalition recently released a report, Mobilizing Capital Investment to Modernize Government, which offers strategies federal agencies can use to encourage private investment. The report offers specific recommendations for revising budget and acquisition procedures while abiding by safeguards in appropriations, budget scoring and procurement processes rooted in long-standing policy.

This report also includes expert insights and precedents for applying commercial best practices across government. Among the recommendations:

  • The federal government should evaluate precedents regarding how private capital has been used for public purposes and determine how those examples can be applied to other situations.
  • The federal government’s budget and procurement processes should be made friendlier to outside investments to help modernize government and encourage more public-private partnerships.

The report features 10 recommendations for the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration and Congress, and their stakeholders and partners. Leaders who find creative ways to improve the budget process will be better equipped to address important national needs now and moving forward.