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Irony = Consolidated Federal Funds Report discontinued, Senate to hold hearing on transparency of federal funding

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.

Sincerely,

NAME
CONTACT

Another one bites the dust: Consolidated Federal Funds Report going away July 31, 2012

Happy friday 😐 The Consolidated Federal Funds Report will be going away. Census will still continue to host the 1995 – 2010 historic reports (for now!). According to their web site:

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 govs.cms.inquiry@census.gov

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!

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics: another defunded publication

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”

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
Washington, DC

The Honorable Vincent P. Barabba, Former Director of the Census Bureau (1973-1976;
1979-1981) and Current Chairman
Market Insight Corporation
Capitola, CA

The Honorable Keith Hall, Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center at George Mason University and former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics
Arlington, Virginia

The Honorable Grant D. Aldonas, Principal Managing Director
Split Rock International
Washington, DC

WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WHERE: 210 Cannon House Office Building

USDA reverses decision to stop farm reports. Hear that Census Bureau?

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.

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