GAO: Administration 'needs to do more' to measure performance

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Federal agencies have missed opportunities to address performance issues, the report notes, including judging how tax deductions contribute to larger goals. Those tax expenditures accounted for about $1 trillion in fiscal 2012, but the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not have a framework to review their performance and judge how they work to achieve the administration's goals.

"Without information about which tax expenditures support these goals and measures of their performance, Congress and other decision makers will not have the needed information to assess overall federal contributions towards desired results and the costs and relative effectiveness associated with those contributions," the GAO report noted.

Agencies also have a difficult time measuring their performance to meet goals and aligning individual tasks with broader results. Additionally, the report found that both the public and Congress can have a hard time getting information from the website the administration uses to display accountability.

The office recommends that the OMB tell agencies to focus on how tax deductions contribute to their goals as well as review the deductions and assess their impact.

Since 2011, the GAO has found 162 areas of potential overlap, duplication or fragmentation in the federal government.

The GAO is Congress's investigative arm.

Its report looked at the modernization of the Government Performance and Results Act, a 1993 law.