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Monday, March 06, 2006

There * goes again: another performance measure axed

If you don't want anyone to know how bad you're administration is performing, just cut off funding for the data collection and reporting:

U.S. Plan to Eliminate Survey of Needy Families Draws Fire
Abid Aslam, OneWorld US
Wed Mar 1, 9:54 PM ET

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar 1 (OneWorld) - Researchers and legislators are rallying to block a Bush administration plan to scupper a U.S. survey widely used to improve federal and state programs for millions of low-income and retired Americans.

President George W. Bush's proposed budget for fiscal 2007, which begins this October, includes a Commerce Department plan to eliminate the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

The proposal marks at least the third White House attempt in as many years to do away with federal data collection on politically prickly economic issues ranging from mass layoffs to employment discrimination.


Founded in 1984 after six years of development, the Census Bureau survey follows American families for a number of years and monitors their use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, child care, and other health, social service, and education programs.


Supporters of elimination say the program costs too much at $40 million per year. Rather, they would kill it in September and eventually replace it with a scaled-down version that would run to $9.2 million in development costs during the coming fiscal year. Actual data collection would begin in 2009.


The fight over SIPP evokes at least two similar campaigns of recent years.
In 2004 and 2005, the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Women's Policy Research led a successful campaign to reverse a Bush administration plan to drop questions on the hiring and firing of women from employment data collected by the BLS. Pressure from researchers, policy designers, and lawmakers proved essential to that success, the group said.

In 2003, similar advocacy prompted a budget shuffle and saved the monthly BLS Mass Layoff Statistics report.


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