Open Data, Transparency Sites That Helped Gov't Save Billions To Be Shut Down Over $30 Million?
from the lovely dept
While we’ve faulted the Obama administration for its many, many failings on the promised transparency front, the one area where they actually had done some good was with their work on the IT side, where the CTO and CIO had created some pretty cool websites sharing important data with the public, and pushing federal agencies to be a lot more transparent about their federal IT spending. Just last week, they announced plans to open source the famed ITDashboard.gov software, noting that it “was a major component of the process the Federal Government employed to save over $3 billion in just its first two years of deployment.”
And now they’re shutting it down.
There were some rumors last week, but reports are now saying that it’s confirmed that the government will be shutting down a variety of its “open” data sites, including ITDashboard, data.gov and others, because the House has only allocated $2 million for electronic government activities, rather than the $35 million the White House requested:
“We need at least another $4 million just to keep USASpending.gov operating this year,” the official said. “We are looking at a pass-the-hat approach, but it could be challenging to get that done in time.”
The White House requested $35 million for the e-government fund in 2011. The House allocated only $2 million in its bill, H.R. 1. The Senate, meanwhile, would provide $20 million for the e-government fund.
“The continuing resolution says we can only spend what we would reasonably expect to get during the fiscal year, and we have no reasonable expectation to get more than a couple of millions of dollars,” the source said.
There are some efforts underway to try to save the sites, and people are pointing out how incredibly backwards this proposal is. In an effort to save a few million upfront, it will inevitably cost jobs and a lot more money on the back end through less efficiency in government.
I’m all for cutting unnecessary government spending, and I’m not necessarily convinced that these projects need $35 million per year (though, given how much terrible paywalls cost, perhaps this is a bargain), but this just doesn’t make much sense at all. It’s one area where the government has really been doing some good, increasing both efficiency and transparency… and the response is to cut off their funding?