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Major Cuts for Online Tech Transparency Progs

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Details emerging last night on the FY 2011 budget agreement indicate that the electronic government fund will be cut to $8m from the $34 million appropriated in FY 2010, a reduction to 1/4 of its previous funding. As I explained previously, some projects facing defunding include the information repository data.gov, the government-spending reporting site USASpending.gov, the recently-launched cloud computing initiative, citizen engagement tools, and online collaboration tools. Altogether, six project areas apparently will be affected by the cuts. By comparison, other programs in the “financial services and government sector,” which includes the e-gov fund,  were cut by a (comparatively slight) 10% from their FY2010 levels.

Last week, House Republicans had proposed a reduction of the electronic government fund by 1/2 to $17m for the duration of the short term continuing budget resolution. This was a change from a House Republican proposal in February and Senate Democratic proposal in March to virtually eliminate the fund, which would have reducing it to $2m.

More than 10 organizations and 6,000 individuals have called upon Congress to “save the data.” Many of these programs have served as a model for similar state programs and efforts by more other countries.

The legislative language for the appropriations bill is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives no later than tomorrow, and negotiations are continuing as to its contents.

It is unclear which programs will be cut or eliminated. The electronic government fund is a bucket of money spent on federal transparency programs at Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s discretion, subject to statutory mandate. He will have to make the tough decisions about where to cut; we now know much much is on the chopping block.

Update: here's the bill

Second Update: And here's a video we released this morning as part of the Save the Data campaign.