Cover image for The price of government : getting the results we need in an age of permanent fiscal crisis
The price of government : getting the results we need in an age of permanent fiscal crisis
Osborne, David, 1951- (David E.)
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 370 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Getting a grip on the problem -- Setting the price of government -- Setting the priorities of government : buying results that citizens value (at the price they are willing to pay) -- Strategic reviews : divesting to invest -- Consolidation : smart mergers -- Rightsizing : the right work, the right way, with the right staff -- Buying services competitively -- Rewarding performance, not good intentions -- Smarter customer service : putting customers in the driver's seat -- Don't buy mistrust--eliminate it -- Using flexibility to get accountability -- Make administrative systems allies, not enemies -- Smarter work processes : tools from industry -- Leadership for a change -- Politics : truth, lies, and the campaign for public support.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HJ275 .O83 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Government fiscal problems have reached crisis proportions and generated headlines all over the country. In Oregon, schools are forced to close early because money to operate them runs out. In New York City, firehouse closings cause celebrity-studded neighborhood protests. Twenty-two state governors, from both parties and all regions of the country, have proposed tax increases to make up for falling revenues, rising expenses, and falling federal support. In Washington, the federal government projects a half-trillion-dollar deficit. The fiscal crisis in government at every level is the most severe it's been since World War II.Where David Osborne's 1992 New York Times bestseller Reinventing Government was descriptive, showing readers a new model of government then emerging around the country, The Price of Government is prescriptive. It offers specific solutions, drawn from the authors' ten years of experience applying reinvention strategies, and shows how to apply them in the context of a permanent fiscal crisis. The authors describe how a budget process that starts with results, not spending programs, has been a springboard for transformation in governments at all levels. The Price of Government will interest everyone who is concerned with how our tax money is spent--and how to get the government we need to thrive and prosper.

Author Notes

David Osborne is A senior partner of the Public Strategies Group
Peter Hutchinson is a founder and President of the Public Strategies Group in St. Paul, Minnesota

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The current budget deficit reflects a permanent fiscal crisis that requires profound changes in the way government functions, according to Osborne and Hutchinson in this follow-up to Reinventing Government (1992). A fiscal crisis is looming at a time of rising demand for public school funding, internal security, and health insurance. With the government at a standstill and using accounting gimmicks to avoid making real decisions, the authors offer sound advice: reverse the budget process so it starts with results we demand and the price we are willing to pay ; cut government through strategic reviews; increase accountability; and use technology. Citing their own experiences (Hutchinson as former Minnesota commissioner of finance, Osborne from work with former vice-president Gore on the National Performance Review) and examples of initiatives from hundreds of localities, the authors look at what works and what doesn't and how government at all levels can make changes to increase the effectiveness of its programs, reduce costs, and deliver services. This is a highly accessible look at government and finance for readers of all political perspectives. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2004 Booklist

Choice Review

Osborne (adviser to government officials, and writer, including Reinventing Government, coauthored with Ted Gaebler, 1992) and Hutchinson (financial management consultant to government officials) provide a highly readable, insightful account of the strategies and tools governments can employ to meet citizens' demands for services in "an age of permanent financial crisis." They argue that traditional governmental responses to revenue shortfalls, which include "across-the-board cuts" in expenditures and tax increases, are inadequate responses to current fiscal constraints. They contend that governments must instead focus on outcomes by restructuring budgetary decisions and processes to set priorities and make spending decisions in order to meet citizens' policy expectations at the price they find palatable for the governmental services they demand. In making their case for a budgetary system that emphasizes "results rather than activities," the authors employ cases from selected state and local governments to detail how "outcome budgeting" works. In addition, they discuss and illustrate, through an array of examples, a series of organizational, managerial, and leadership strategies public officials can use to realize results identified as important. This work will be of value to a fairly broad audience, from general readers to those whose study or work relates to public finance or public administration. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Public, academic, and professional library collections. G. L. Malecha University of Portland