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Keep Open-Government Sites Open

The Electronic Government Fund, which pays for multiple websites that make government data available to the public, will have its budget slashed from $34 million to just $8 million because of GOP-led cuts.

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The Citizen Services Dashboard, a planned federal website that tracks service quality at government agencies, will never become operational because of GOP-led cuts to the Electronic Government Fund, according to the U.S. chief information officer.

The fund, which pays for multiple websites that make government data available to the public, will have its budget slashed from $34 million to just $8 million, under a budget deal passed in April.

“Several projects will experience a sharp decline given the limited amount of funding,” said Vivek Kundra, the federal chief information officer, in a recent letter to Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE). “No project will go unaffected.”

“These sites are critical tools for identifying waste and inefficiencies,” says Craig Jennings, director of federal fiscal policy at OMB Watch, a Washington nonprofit. “The public deserves to know what the government is doing with their money.”

It’s ironic that just as our federal government is shuttering important tools like the Citizen Services Dashboard, other governments are starting to see the light. Inspired by a recent visit from Kundra and Aneesh Chopra, the federal chief technology officer, the Indian government in July plans to launch data.gov.in, which will provide free access to a slew of government data—from monsoon charts to agricultural information.

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