Budget request: GSA seeks single fund for citizen services

As part of its fiscal 2009 budget request, the Bush administration has proposed a more consolidated approach for getting information to the public.

Under the new plan, funding for USA.gov and other public information programs would fall under a new Federal Citizen Services Fund, officials said.

Kathleen Turco, chief financial officer at the General Services Administration, said in a conference with reporters today that GSA wants to consolidate spending for the Federal Citizen Information Center, USA.gov and GSA’s Intergovernmental Solutions program under one fund. They are currently managed through three funds.

The IT infrastructure and content for USA.gov and other technology services for citizens are also paid for from separate funds, said Micah Cheatham, GSA’s budget director.

“What we’re asking is to combine the entire program in a single funding source,” he said.

GSA wants to transfer 35 employees and $18.2 million as it consolidates the services, Turco said.

The proposed consolidation will allow GSA to budget for and report total program costs and more closely align costs with program performance, she added.

In addition, President Bush again asked Congress for $5 million for the Electronic Government Fund. Congress has yet to grant the request. But lawmakers allocated $3 million for the fund in the fiscal 2008 consolidated appropriations bill.

In the administration’s $5 million request, the Office of Management and Budget would spend $2 million to develop a Web-based reporting system so agencies can submit their spending numbers as required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.

In December, OMB unveiled USAspending.gov, a site that provides information about agencies’ contracts and grants.

In addition, the fiscal 2009 budget request increased funding for GSA’s Office of Inspector General to $54 million, which is $5.6 million more than Congress approved for fiscal 2008.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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