Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill (H.R. 2578), that cuts the Census Bureau’s budget by more than 30 percent, and would make the American Community Survey voluntary.

Good planning is based on sound, comprehensive data. The federal government is a key provider of essential data for understanding economic, social, environmental, and demographic trends shaping the nation’s communities not just through the census itself, but also through the American Community Survey and the Economic Census. These resources make government programs more effective and efficient and allow for better decision-making by local citizens and businesses. It is vital that these federal data agencies and resources are maintained, coordinated, and strengthened with a focus on supporting local communities.

You can find more information on the budget and effects of the budget cuts at the American Planning Association’s web blog.

The bill next moves to the Senate, possibly as early as this week. Please contact Idaho Senators Crapo and Risch to let them know how important this data is for local communities and community planning. Ask for support for the appropriations committee to restore funding to the Census Bureau and the ACS.

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