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Budget Slash Jeopardizes Census

by Leah Sakala, July 13, 2011

Congress has proposed a drastic cut to the Census Bureau’s budget that threatens current and future operations. The Prison Policy Initiative, along with 38 other national organizations, submitted a joint letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging the Committee members to reconsider their recommendation to slash the Census Bureau’s budget allocation.

Our letter states:

We believe the Subcommittee’s recommendation of $855.4 million, which is 25 percent below the Census Bureau’s FY 2011 spending level, puts vital data collection programs in jeopardy and will cripple the agency’s ability to achieve significant savings in the future through innovative methods and greater use of technology.

The proposed budget cut could compromise the Bureau’s capacity to implement programs such as the 2012 Quinquennial Economic Census (required by the Census Act), force the Bureau to abandon early planning work for the 2020 Census, or eliminate the Bureau’s ability to release follow-up data for the 2010 Census, such as the Count Question Resolution program or overcount and undercount estimates.

While the Senate Appropriations Committee is understandably looking for places to conserve federal resources, the cost of stunting the Census Bureau’s ability to deliver the data that our democracy depends on is simply too steep.

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