Small growth in IT budget

Bush increases tech spending 3 percent

“HHS budget asks $169 million for health care IT”

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President Bush’s fiscal 2007 budget, released Feb. 6, proposes $64 billion in information technology spending, a 3 percent increase in overall federal IT expenditures. In a tight budget year, he also proposed three new lines of business to save money.

Only five of 25 departments and agencies had lower IT funding requests than in fiscal 2006, according to Exhibit 53, a supporting budget document that details IT spending. Requests fell for the Treasury and Education departments, the Office of Personnel Management, the General Services Administration and NASA, whose request dropped from $2.35 billion to $2.22 billion. Overall, the budget proposal cut more from general discretionary funding than from IT requests, a budget analysis found.

Karen Evans, administrator for e-government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget, said this budget proposal shows fiscal restraint and requires agencies to show results.

“You can’t continuously put money down there in a bad investment,” she said. Industry wouldn’t allow the practice, and government shouldn’t either, she added.

“Technology allows you to do more with less,” said Teresa Bozzelli, chief operating officer and managing director of government insights at IDC.

The administration’s general trend in increasing IT requests shows an interest in investment despite a tight budget.

“There is a general recognition that technology is key to performing their mission,” said Alan Balutis, president and chief executive officer of government strategies at Input.

“The administration needs to build on its excellent [e-government] report by working directly with each appropriations subcommittee to explain the value of IT in terms that resonate,” wrote Bruce McConnell, president of McConnell International, in an e-mail message.

To save money, the administration proposed three new lines of business to improve agency efficiency and cooperation. The budgeting line of business will look for common solutions and tools to enhance budget processes. It will work to standardize information and align programs and their outcomes with budget levels and actual costs to help the government review its budget performance.

A cross-agency task force identified $1.4 billion in savings through consolidating commonly used IT security services, according to the budget proposal. It asked agencies to become a service provider or let another agency do it for them.

The IT infrastructure line of business will define specific common performance measures for service levels and costs, and it will identify best practices. It will also develop guidance for technology transitions, such as the move to IPv6.

A coordinated approach to IT service levels will let agencies focus on fulfilling their missions. The administration expects to save 16 percent to 27 percent of the IT budget annually.

The geospatial line of business seeks to optimize and consolidate federal geospatial-related investments.

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