By Phil Sparks
Over the past two months, stakeholders of the Census Project – including the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the International Council of Shopping Centers and the National Association of Counties – visited more than 40 congressional offices, warning them of the consequences of inadequate funding for the 2020 Census.
Our stakeholders reported back that many of the key offices they visited needed an in-depth updating on both the importance of the next decennial and how it is funded. And, many political challenges lie ahead.
For example, one knowledgeable congressional aide predicted to our stakeholders that Congress will simply “flat line” this year’s census budget at the same levels as last year, and kick the can down the road.
The Census Project believes this would be dangerous. The Census Bureau needs significant, additional funds in 2018 for the so-called End-to-End field test of new technologies designed to make the 2020 Census more efficient and less costly to the American taxpayer.
Something has got to give, and Census Project stakeholders are working hard with policymakers in Congress to understand the consequences of underfunding the next decennial census.