Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, said Mississippi enacted a 1994 law that required performance-based budgeting, but it was loosely enforced. He said agency leaders frequently ask for much more money than they need because they know requests are whittled during the months-long budgeting process.

With solid information available on which programs are effective, lawmakers can make budget decisions based on data, not on “who’s got the best haircut … who’s got the nicest cologne,” Burton said.

Among other things, he said, the new system will require a statewide inventory of every program within every agency.

“You’d be surprised how much we don’t know,” Burton said.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said state agencies won’t be guaranteed to receive money just because programs are performing well. He said legislators will still decide how to divvy up tax dollars, but they’ll do so with more information at hand.

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