This IS something I think is important:
Talking Points For Potential FY 2006 (or FY 2007) Budget Amendment on the Decennial Census
General Census Information
•The three things that we need to remember are these:
1.Every ten years, every congressional seat is reapportioned based on census data,
2.Every ten years, every congressional district is redistricted based on census data, and
3.Every single year, the Federal government allocates almost 300 billion dollars based on census data.
•300 billion dollars – that is more than the discretionary budget requests for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, HHS, Homeland Security, HUD, Interior, Justice, Transportation and NASA … combined!
•An amendment to remove $ from the decennial census budget is an amendment to have the federal government allocated almost 300 billion dollars, while virtually blind.
•The one thing that we need to understand is that there is no program increase in FY 2006 for the decennial census. This amendment would drastically cut the core decennial census program.
oIf there is no program increase, why then is there a budget increase?
oThe nature of the census program and budget is not like most federal programs. It is cyclical. The program and budget must ramp up to the decennial census -- and then ramp back down again. That is the program.
oAn amendment to remove $ from the decennial census budget is a program cut. That program cut will directly impact the quality of the 2010 decennial census data – the data used to reapportion congressional seats, the data used for redistricting, and the data used to allocate 300 million federal dollars every year.
•Some of my colleagues might wonder how the amendment would cause us to allocated 300 billion dollars while virtually blind. This is a strong but accurate statement.
oHistorically, these dollars were allocated based on census long form data, which was updated once every ten years and released two years later.
oThe data aged quickly. As the years passed after the 1990 Census, for example, we knew less about where the money should go. But there was no new data, so we continued to allocate 300 billion a year to where it should have gone back in 1990.
oThe 300 billion is allocated through 172 federal programs to meet the needs of the American people. Allocating these funds to the wrong place devastates program performance from the start; it wastes billions of dollars, and it prevents us from efficiently and effectively meeting the needs of the American people.
There is, in fact, a hidden tax in misallocating funds because it costs less to be effective.
Importance of the American Community Survey
•By 2001, the year before new long form data from Census 2000 was released, we allocated the funds based on 1990 data—based on 11-year-old, arguably irrelevant data. We allocated 300 billion of American tax-payers’ dollars virtually blind.
oThe Congress, the Bush and Clinton Administrations, federal agencies and the Census Bureau have long recognized this problem of old data. The problem has been fixed with the fully implemented American Community Survey, which updates the necessary data annually and enables us to get the money to where it needs to go.
oThis amendment would kill the American Community Survey. It would terminate our ability to get the 300 billion to where it needs to go every year. And, we would once again allocate billions of our constituents’ tax dollars while virtually blind.
Long Term Consequences
•There are other consequences:
o1,000 federal jobs would be lost at the Census Bureau. The cut wastes the 644 million dollars already spent and add a billion dollars to the cost of the census in 2010.
oAlso, killing the American Community Survey means that the long form will be restored to the census where it will compete with and reduce the quality of the decennial short form.
What does that mean? It means that congressional reapportionment and congressional redistricting will be less accurate.