Koskinen: Proposed Year 2000 funding 'more than enough'

John Koskinen, chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, said today that the federal government should have more than enough money earmarked in fiscal 1999 to fix the millennium bug.

Already millions of dollars in the proposed fiscal 1999 federal budget will go toward reprogramming or replacing computer systems that are unable to correctly process 21st century dates. But Koskinen said two proposed contingency funds—- containing nearly $5.5 billion beyond the administration's budget requests specific to the Year 2000—- should cover the cost of Year 2000 fixes. While some federal observers say the administration is being too conservative in its budget requests for the Year 2000, the proposed funding is "more than enough" to cover the government's costs, Koskinen said.

The funding includes a $3.2 billion pool of money that the administration has requested to cover anything from the Year 2000 to emergency military missions, and a $2.25 billion emergency reserve fund, created by the Senate Appropriations Committee, that agencies could use for Year 2000 fixes.

The administration's Year 2000 council estimated earlier this year that it will cost the federal government $1.14 billion in fiscal 1999 to fix the Year 2000 problem. From fiscal 1996 through fiscal 2000, agencies will spend $4.7 billion on the problem, the council has estimated.

That estimate is expected to go up next month, when the council will release a new report, but the estimate should not double, Koskinen said.

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