Gutwein Voices New Concerns over Census Budget Report

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Thursday, May 6, 2010 8:00 am

STATEHOUSE-Rep. Doug Gutwein today released a statement in response to the federal audit report revealing that frequent outages in a Census Bureau computer system. The audit revealed the outages are driving up costs and causing substantial amounts of overtime. Rep. Gutwein originally expressed discontent last month with the amount of federal funding seemingly wasted on promotional materials produced outside of the United States.    

"The degree to which our tax dollars are being mismanaged seems to grow at every turn," said Rep. Gutwein. "The federal budget for the census is already costing us $15 billion. New issues are now arising that will cost millions more. But it's pretty clear to me that those in charge don't have an issue wasting our tax dollars after spending millions and millions of useless promotional items that weren't even made here. It's difficult to have confidence that this process is being managed correctly. I understand the value and necessity of the census, but you have to draw the line somewhere."

The report finds several areas where taxpayer money has been put at risk, or even lost:

The computer problems are a result of hasty design to the bureau's Paper Based Operations Control System that began in early 2008, after the Census Bureau scrapped plans to use a handheld-computer method that ended up costing more than $700 million but did not operate adequately.

The Census Bureau's monthly spending reports are somewhat unreliable, with actual costs exceeding the operating budget by as much as 7 percent.

Census takers have met difficulties with assignments due to faulty maps, overstaffing and inefficient coordination. Training is ineffective in some areas; there are numerous errors in the manuals and the "one-size-fits-all" approach that does not always address the "challenges unique to a specific geography or location

(Source: Associated Press)