After months of debate, we finally have a FY 2011 budget that will fund the government through September 30. This budget will make $38.5 billion in cuts compared to the FY 2010 levels and includes a .2% across-the-board cut for all non-defense discretionary spending. Three of the programs of concern to the library community are shown below.
As reported in the Senate Committee on Appropriations press release:
Library of Congress. The CR provides $629.9 million in funding for the Library of Congress, a reduction of $13.4 million (-2%) below the FY 10 enacted level, but an increase of $27.4 million (4.5%) above the level provided in H.R. 1. The funding level provided in the CR proposal will require a hiring freeze, and core services and products will be delayed as staff levels are reduced.
By contrast, the funding cuts contained in H.R. 1 would have require the LOC to furlough all library staff for approximately eight weeks, including a complete closure of Library facilities and services during that period. In other words, for two months of the remaining six months, the Library would have to be closed.
Government Printing Office. The CR provides $135.3 million for the Government Printing Office (GPO), the same level as provided in H.R.1. As most reductions were taken from the revolving fund, the level of funding provided will allow the GPO to operate at the current level with no service disruptions.
General Services Administration. The CR provides $82 million for construction and acquisition and $280 million for repair of federal buildings and courthouses. In total, GSA programs were cut by almost $1 billion (a cut of $986 million, compared with a net level of $652.7 million in FY10 and a cut of $1.1 billion in H.R. 1). Funding is provided for the first installment of the Integrated Acquisition Environment, a government-wide information system that will improve contract and grant award, management, and training, as well as provide a critical link in fulfilling the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA).
The General Services Administration cut could affect their E-government fund, dramatically lowering the budgets for sites such as Data.gov. These decisions are not final and as the House and Senate will be on recess for the next two weeks, now is the perfect time to share your thoughts with them regarding these important government sites.
It is now time to turn our grass root efforts to the FY2012 budget process. With both the Senate and House on recess for two weeks, you should take this opportunity to search out your representatives and senators. Invite them to your libraries and share with them the importance of what libraries do, express the necessity of continued funding for vital programs, such as that of the Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch. If you would like some helpful language when speaking with your congressman, please visit the Legislative Action Center.