On the day when the Commerce Department announced it was $1.6 billion under-budget on the Census project, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke defended himself against criticism Tuesday that the savings weren’t admirable at all, but due to good weather and a weak labor market.
“We had floods and tornadoes,” said Locke, who previously was the governor of Washington State.
In Tuesday's USA Today, an article argued that the government saved money on the Census because there were virtually no man-made or natural disasters during the survey period.
"Federal agencies, the GAO [Government Accountability Office] and the Department of Commerce’s Inspector General called the Census systems ‘haphazard’ [based on the Census experience under George Bush in 2000]," added Locke.
Among the savings (money budgeted but not spent): $800 million for natural disasters and operational breakdowns, $650 million due to high number of mailed Census questionnaires (greater than anticipated response by citizens who filled out the forms) and $150 million for counting people living in Alaska and on tribal lands.