With just three years until the 2020 Census and a leadership vacuum at the U.S. Census Bureau, Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner has joined a bipartisan coalition of 12 city and state comptrollers and treasurers from across the United States asking the federal government to ensure that all Americans are counted.
"The Census provides crucial data which guides policy decisions at each level of government and affects every American," said Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. "With 2020 fast approaching, the Trump administration must ensure that the Census Bureau has the resources, leadership and oversight to conduct an accurate count of the U.S. population."
The Government Accountability Office has added the 2020 Census to its "High Risk List," which indicates the agency's concern that the Census Bureau will not be able to effectively fulfil its mission. Due to funding shortages, the Census Bureau has already cancelled two of three field tests in 2018 and has eliminated critical parts of the remaining field test in Providence, Rhode Island.
To date, President Trump has not nominated a replacement for Census Bureau Director John Thompson, who announced his resignation in early May after working at the bureau for 27 years.
In a letter to the President, Commerce Secretary Ross and Congressional leaders, the coalition makes a strong case for fully funding the Census Bureau and filling the vacant Census Bureau Director post. The coalition also underscores the importance of accurate census data to federal programs, policymaking, and democratic elections.
Census data is used in the creation of fair electoral districts, which are vital to free, democratic elections. Additionally, more than 215 federal programs use Census data to allocate grants and funding, including Medicaid reimbursement, affordable housing subsidies, transportation funding, food stamps, free and reduced-price school lunches, and early childhood education;
The coalition is calling on President Trump and members of Congress to fully fund the Census Bureau and nominate and confirm qualified candidates for both Census Bureau Director and Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.
Signers of the June 20, 2017 letter include California State Controller Betty T. Yee, Maryland State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, Utah State Treasurer David Damschen, Buffalo Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder, Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz, and Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb.
To read the coalition's letter, click the link below.