Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Request:

U.S. Government Accountability Office

GAO-08-707T: Published: Apr 30, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 2008.

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The budget authority GAO is requesting for fiscal year 2009--$545.5 million--represents a prudent request of 7.5 percent to support the Congress as it confronts a growing array of difficult challenges. GAO will continue to reward the confidence Congress places in us by providing a strong return on this investment. In fiscal year 2007 for example, in addition to delivering hundreds of reports and briefings to aid congressional oversight and decisionmaking, our work yielded: financial benefits, such as increased collection of delinquent taxes and civil fines, totaling $45.9 billion--a return of $94 for every dollar invested in GAO; over 1,300 other improvements in government operations spanning the full spectrum of national issues, ranging from helping Congress create a center to better locate children after disasters to strengthening computer security over sensitive government records and assets to encouraging more transparency over nursing home fire safety to strengthening screening procedures for VA health care practitioners; and expert testimony at 276 congressional hearings to help Congress address a variety of issues of broad national concern, such as the conflict in Iraq and efforts to ensure drug and food safety.

GAO's work in fiscal year 2007 generated $45.9 billion in financial benefits. These financial benefits, which resulted primarily from actions agencies and the Congress took in response to our recommendations, included about $21.1 billion resulting from changes to laws or regulations, $16.3 billion resulting from improvements to core business processes, and $8.5 billion resulting from agency actions based on our recommendations to improve public services. Many of the benefits that result from our work cannot be measured in dollar terms. During fiscal year 2007, we recorded a total of 1,354 other improvements in government resulting from GAO work. For example, in 646 instances federal agencies improved services to the public, in 634 other cases agencies improved core business processes or governmentwide reforms were advanced, and in 74 instances information we provided to the Congress resulted in statutory or regulatory changes. These actions spanned the full spectrum of national issues, from strengthened screening procedures for all VA health care practitioners to improved information security at the Securities and Exchange Commission. In January 2007, we also issued our High-Risk Series: An Update, which identifies federal areas and programs at risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement and those in need of broad-based transformations. Issued to coincide with the start of each new Congress, our high-risk list focuses on major government programs and operations that need urgent attention. Overall, this program has served to help resolve a range of serious weaknesses that involve substantial resources and provide critical services to the public. GAO added the 2010 Census as a high-risk area in March 2008. GAO's achievements are of great service to the Congress and American taxpayers. With Congressional support, we will be able to continue to provide the high level of performance that has come to be expected of GAO.

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