Report: E-gov helps government share info

The federal government offers more timely and accurate information to the public and government leaders through e-government initiatives, according to a report by the Office of Management and Budget. The report, sent to Capitol Hill Jan. 6, comes as a new law requires congressional approval of e-government initiatives.

The report details President Bush’s 24 e-government initiatives and the five lines of business that aim to increase government efficiency and improve services to agencies.

For example, the report states that in the 2005 tax season, taxpayers filed more than 5.1 million returns electronically via Free File. That is a 46 percent increase from 2004.

Additionally, first responders and other public safety organizations used the Disaster Management Interoperability Services e-government tool, deployed at 25 agencies, to share information in more than 116 disaster situations, the report states.

The report is part of a new provision in the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006, which the president signed Nov. 30, 2005. According to the bill, an agency must submit a report to the congressional appropriations committees via OMB to gain funding for an e-government initiative.

House Appropriations Committee spokesman John Scofield said the report is under review, and the committee "will make a decision at the appropriate time" about the funding's approval.

The new law requires that the reports include the funding amount, the specific use of the money and the proposal’s relevance to the agency and each of the bureaus contributing funds. The report must also describe any activities receiving funds that will not be fully implemented because of the funding transfer.

OMB’s approach to funding initiatives had been to gather money from agencies rather than to seek congressional appropriations.

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