Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Request:

U.S. Government Accountability Office

GAO-07-547T: Published: Mar 16, 2007. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 2007.

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David M. Walker
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We would like to thank Congress for its past support of GAO. We are especially appreciative of Congressional efforts to help us avoid a furlough of our staff during fiscal year 2007. Had we not received additional funds this year and not taken other cost minimization actions, GAO would have likely been forced to furlough most staff for up to 5 days without pay. At the same time, due to funding shortfalls, we were not able to make pay adjustments retroactive to January 7, 2007. It is through the efforts of our dedicated and capable staff that we were able to provide the Congress with the professional, objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, non-ideological, fair, and balanced information it needs to meet the full range of its constitutional responsibilities. We are extremely pleased and proud to say that we helped the federal government achieve a total of $51 billion in financial benefits in fiscal year 2006--a record high that represents a return on investment of $105 for every dollar the Congress invested in us. As a result of our work, we also documented 1,342 nonfinancial benefits that helped to improve service to the public, change laws, and transform government operations. The funding we received in fiscal year 2006 allowed us to conduct work that addressed many difficult issues confronting the nation, including U.S. border security, Iraq and Hurricane Katrina activities, the tax gap and tax reform, and issues affecting the health and pay of military service members. Our client-focused performance measures indicate that the Congress valued and was very pleased with our work overall.

There is a need for fundamental and dramatic reform to address what the government does, how it does business, and who will do the government's business. Our support to the Congress will likely prove even more critical because of the pressures created by our nation's current and projected budget deficit and growing long-term fiscal imbalance. Also, as we face current and projected supply and demand imbalance issues and a growing workload over the coming years across a wide spectrum of issues, GAO will be unable to respond to congressional demands without a significant investment in our future. We have exhausted the results that we can achieve based on prior investments. Our ability to continue to produce record results and assist the Congress in discharging its Constitutional responsibilities relating to authorization, appropriations, oversight, and other matters will be adversely impacted unless we take action now. Therefore, our fiscal year 2008 budget request is designed to restore GAO's funding to more reasonable operating levels. Specifically, we are requesting fiscal year 2008 budget authority of $530 million, an 8.5 percent increase over our fiscal year 2007 funding level. The additional funds provided in fiscal year 2007 have helped reduce our requested increase for fiscal year 2008 from 9.4 percent to 8.5 percent. This funding level also represents a reduction below the request we submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in January as a result of targeted adjustments to our planned fiscal year 2008 hiring plan. Our fiscal year 2008 budget request will allow us to achieve our performance goals to support the Congress as outlined in our strategic plan1 and rebuild our workforce capacity to allow us to better respond to supply and demand imbalances in responding to congressional requests. This funding will also help us address our caseload for bid protest filings, which have increased by more than 10 percent from fiscal years 2002 through 2006. Our workload for the first quarter of fiscal year 2007 suggests a continuation of this upward trend in bid protest fillings. We will be seeking Congressional commitment and support to provide the funding needed to increase GAO's staffing level to 3,750 over the next 6 years in order to address critical needs including supply and demand imbalances, high-risk areas, 21st Century Challenges questions, technology assessments, and other areas in need of fundamental reform. In addition, as we get closer to when GAO may be able to render our opinion on the consolidated financial statements of the U. S. government and the Department of Defense's financial and related systems, we will need to increase our workforce capacity. We will be providing the Congress additional information on the basis for and nature of this target later this year. Importantly, as noted last year, we also plan to request legislation that will assist GAO in performing its mission work, and enhance our human capital policies, including addressing certain compensation and benefits issues of interest to our employees. We plan to submit our proposal to our Senate and House authorization and oversight committees in the near future.

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