Census Appropriations & Other Threats

Hot off the desk of the Census Project and the PAA’s Office of Government and Public Affairs:

The proposed funding level for the Census Bureau for FY2013 via the House Appropriations Bill (HR5326) includes a 12 percent cut. This will:

hamper thorough research and testing for the 2020 Census and curtail portions of the 2012 Economic Census, which provides vital benchmarks for key economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product.

In addition,

The Periodic Censuses and Programs account includes funding for several activities that are vital to testing and planning for the 2020 decennial census. The testing program includes an Internet response option and other bold operational changes that the Census Bureau must fully vet and analyze before it can prudently include them in the 2020 Census design. In our view, the proposed $52 million cut in Census 2020 planning, ostensibly to reduce overall costs for the next decennial census, is pennywise and pound-foolish
for the American taxpayer.

The House Committee is also directing the Census Bureau to hold the line on spending for the 2020 Census to the amount it spent in 2010. That does not take into consideration housing or population growth or the increasing diversity of the future US, which contributes to the “hard to count” and “expensive to count” population.

Read the letter sent by the Census Project to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi.

In addition, there is a threat that Trey Gowdy, (R, SC) will be adding an amendment to this appropriation bill to make the American Community Survey voluntary. Read the Action Alert from PAA for information on this and what to do about it.

Here’s the message I sent to my Representative:

Ted Poe, (R, TX) is sponsoring a bill (HR 931) that would make response to the ACS voluntary. Trey Gowdy (R, SC) is trying to add an amendment to an appropriations bill (HR 5326) for the same purpose.

Please vote against this amendment. It will (a) increase the cost of the ACS by $60m a year; (b ) reduce the reliability and thus usefulness of the data, which is used to allocate $450b in federal funds & for private sector investment decisions.

The Supreme Court has upheld the federal government’s authority to gather socioeconomic data in the decennial census, so the ACS is in no way an unconstitutional exercise of the Census Bureau’s authority.

I believe it would be inappropriate to legislate such a significant change in policy on an appropriations bill.

And, here’s a link to the House of Representatives where you can look up the contact information for your representative:

http://www.house.gov/representatives

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