Irony = Consolidated Federal Funds Report discontinued, Senate to hold hearing on transparency of federal fundingSubmitted by jrjacobs on Sat, 2012-07-14 07:13.
We just posted about the impending doom of the Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR). Well guess what I found in my latest weekly email update from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO)? I found an announcement for a hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on July 18, 2012 (Location: SD-342) entitled -- get this! -- "Show Me the Money: Improving the Transparency of Federal Spending." It seems to me that the quickest and easiest way to improve the transparency in federal funding is to re-fund the Federal Financial Statistics program and the Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR).
I hope all of our readers -- and especially those from states with Senators sitting on that committee (CT, ME, MI, HI, DE, AR, LA, MO, MT, AK, OK, MA, AZ, WI, OH, KY, KS) -- will contact Senator Joe Lieberman (Committee Chairman) and Senator Susan Collins (Ranking member) and ALL of the other Senators and request that the CFFR be reinstated.
Here's sample email text to copy/paste:
Dear Senator ______________,
I see that the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will be holding a hearing on July 18th entitled "Show Me the Money: Improving the Transparency of Federal Spending." You may be aware that the Census Bureau's Federal Financial Statistics program will be shut down on July 31, 2012 due to budget cuts. This includes the critical publication "Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR)" http://www.census.gov/govs/cffr/. According to the Census Website, the CFFR contains "virtually all Federal expenditures, including grants, loans, direct payments, insurance, procurement, salaries and wages and other awards (such as price supports and research awards). Data represent actual expenditures (or outlays)."
As a government information librarian at _________________________, I can attest that this publication is highly sought after by researchers, faculty, students, and the public looking into federal spending. Reinstating the Federal Financial Statistics Program and continuing publication of the CFFR would be a very large step in the right direction toward greater transparency in federal funding -- which I believe is the goal of this upcoming hearing.
Thank you for your attention to the important issue of government transparency and responsible spending.
Due to the termination of the Federal Financial Statistics program, the Consolidated Federal Funds Report (CFFR) website, including the On-Line Query System, will be shut down on July 31, 2012. Historical CFFR data will be available by request or via a Census Bureau FTP site. Available files will include the U.S. and Individual States Combined, Individual State Files, accompanying reference files, and .pdf publication reports. In addition, the Federal Aid to States and Federal Expenditures by State historical .pdf publications will also be available by request or via a Census Bureau FTP site.
For questions regarding future access to these historical files, please contact the Governments Division - Education and Outreach Branch at email@example.com
What is the Consolidated Federal Funds Report and why is it so critical? Here's Census' description of the resource:
Data are obtained on the amount of virtually all Federal expenditures, including grants, loans, direct payments, insurance, procurement, salaries and wages and other awards (such as price supports and research awards). Data represent actual expenditures (or outlays) with some exceptions. For example, contract amounts may represent obligations, loans and insurance can include cash and contingent liability values, and grants to individuals may reflect benefit commitments. Expenditures are reported by responsible department or agency, and classified by affected program (such as Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief grants or Food and Nutrition Services Women Infants and Children (WIC) Program).
That's a LOT of data that will soon disappear!
Add the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics to the growing list of defunded federal publications. The Sourcebook, published since 1973, is a project of the University at Albany, School of Criminal Justice's Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Center and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Sourcebook offers a wide variety of statistics regarding the characteristics of criminal justice systems, public attitudes toward crime, nature and distribution of offenses, Characteristics and distribution of persons arrested, Judicial processing of defendants, and Persons under correctional supervision.
Due to budget cuts, the Department of Justice is terminating funding for the Sourcebook as of 8/1/12. Please take a few moments to answer the survey they're conducting as part of their effort to secure alternative funding sources.
As a result of the substantial budget cut that has affected the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics Online will cease being funded by that agency as of August 1st, 2012.
For over 40 years, Sourcebook has served as a standard reference tool in the field of criminal justice. We are proud to have offered reliable data on a variety of crime and justice issues to a wide scope of users.
We are actively seeking ways to maintain the services offered by Sourcebook and any development in that direction will be posted here.
We thank you for your support throughout the years and encourage you to respond to our brief survey. Your feedback will be kept anonymous and will be helpful in our efforts to procure other funding sources.
Hearing Tuesday 6/19/12 “Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the ACS and other Government statistics"Submitted by jrjacobs on Thu, 2012-06-14 13:06.
Finally! I hope all of our DC friends will show up for this Congressional hearing next week entitled, “The Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the American Community Survey and other Government Statistics” being held by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC). As we've argued over and over, these types of data/statistics are critical to a well-functioning democracy. Here's a great chance for the American public to shut down the misguided and unsupported perspectives of Representative Daniel Webster and other politicians of his ilk. Support the ACS and the Census!
The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), will hold a hearing entitled, “The Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the American Community Survey and other Government Statistics,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in room 210 of the Cannon House Office Building.
WHAT: Hearing on “The Economic Impact of Ending or Reducing Funding for the American Community Survey and other Government Statistics”
WHO: Mr. Kenneth Simonson, Chief Economist
The Associated General Contractors of America and Vice President,
National Association for Business Economics
The Honorable Vincent P. Barabba, Former Director of the Census Bureau (1973-1976;
1979-1981) and Current Chairman
Market Insight Corporation
The Honorable Keith Hall, Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center at George Mason University and former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor
The Honorable Grant D. Aldonas, Principal Managing Director
Split Rock International
WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 19, 2012
WHERE: 210 Cannon House Office Building
The NY Times reported yesterday that the USDA has reversed a decision to end farming reports. Evidently, when an industry group(s) complains, the US Govt listens. So why hasn't the Census Bureau changed their decision on killing the US Statistical Abstract?
In an abrupt about-face, the United States Department of Agriculture has decided to reverse a decision to eliminate dozens of long-standing statistical reports on a wide range of farming activities, including beekeeping, hop growing and flower farming. The agency’s statistics service said in October that it was forced by budget constraints to cut the reports and that doing so would save $11 million a year.
That led to an outcry from farm groups that said the information collected by the agency was essential. Farmers rely on the reports to decide how much to plant and how many animals to raise; they use the information to persuade bankers to lend them money and to advocate for other types of government support.
So now the Agriculture Department has reinstated most of the reports that had been given the ax. Saved are the reports on trout farming, catfish farming, floriculture, sheep and goats, bees and honey production and mink farming, among others.
Mitt Walker, director of the Alabama Catfish Producers, said the sudden switch was probably “a result of the outcry from the affected commodities,” a reference to farm trade groups.
There has been a lot of discussion and suggestions for action on GOVDOC-L and various library listservs and ALA Connect about the pending demise of the Census Bureau's Statistical Compendia Branch and along with it the elimination of the Statistical Abstract of the United States (aka Stat Abs) and all other titles produced by that branch (State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, USA Counties, Quick Facts). Here's the US Census Bureau's budget estimates for 2012 (PDF).
Librarians around the country are beginning to mobilize. Alesia McManus, the Library Director at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD, has created a Facebook group “Save the US Statistical Abstract” to try to help spread the word and share information. ALA Washington Office has just announced a Legislative Action Alert opposing the defunding of the Statistical Compendia Branch.
Lastly, below is a sample letter that I hope all of our readers will send/email/fax to their Senators and Congressmen -- many thanks to Starr Hoffman at the University of North Texas, Hailey Mooney at Michigan State University, and Kevin McLure at Chicago-Kent College of Law for getting the letter rolling! Feel free to copy and/or edit the letter to suit and forward this post far and wide.
Here's an easy way to find the contact information of your Congressional delegation:
TO YOUR SENATOR:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator ___________:
TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative __________:
Paragraph 1: Why you are writing and who you are. List your "credentials." (If you want a response, you must include your name and address, even when using email.)
My name is __________, and I’m a librarian at INSTITUTION which has served the government information needs of the constituents of your Congressional district and state since DATE LIBRARY BECAME A DEPOSITORY. I’m writing because I and many other librarians are deeply concerned that the U.S. Census Bureau's Budget Estimates for Fiscal Year 2012 calls for the termination of the Statistical Compendia Branch which would mean the elimination of the United States Statistical Abstract and all titles produced by that branch (State and Metropolitan Area Data Book, County and City Data Book, USA Counties, Quick Facts). The library community is deeply upset at the thought of losing access to this important program and urges you to take action to stop this program change.
Paragraph 2: more details about the situation.
The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published annually since 1878, is a key publication for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), which provides free, public access to government information. Both the print and online versions of the “Stat Abs,” as many librarians affectionately refer to it, are on the FDLP Essential Titles list. It is the first place that many librarians, researchers, students and your constituents(!) look for statistical information, because it compiles a vast amount of information, some of it unpublished and not available anywhere else. The Statistical Abstract also provides a citation for the original source for each table, acting as a guidebook to a huge array of diverse government statistics. The Stat Abs (as well as all of the titles published by the Statistical Compendia Branch!) is a staple of reference librarians and the public for its ease of use, comprehensive content, and as a guidebook to federal statistical sources.
These long published titles -- and the federal depositories that distribute it to the American public -- are not an earmark, but are critical to the provision of social, economic, and political indicators to the American public and greatly benefit every American in every Congressional district. Without it, librarians, the public and your constituents(!) will waste much valuable time looking for statistics in multiple places and compiling longitudinal data.
Paragraph 3: Close by requesting the action you want taken: a vote for or against a bill, or change in general policy. If a certain bill is involved, cite the correct title or number whenever possible.
Please urge the Department of Commerce to reinstate the budget for the Census Bureau's Statistical Compendia Branch and the essential, valuable titles that the Branch provides to the public. Many thanks for your time and your service.
Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP): http://fdlp.gov
FDLP Essential Titles: http://snipurl.com/essential-titles
US Census Bureau budget estimate 2012: http://snipurl.com/census-budget-estimate-2012