Upon receipt of a congressional request, GAO reviewed S. 2049 and assessed the paperwork and regulatory burdens that might be associated with its implementation. The bill would amend previous legislation concerning Census Bureau data and would require Federal agencies to use currently available population data to determine benefits received by State and local governments. Since agencies would use currently available intercensal data, program cost and respondent burden should not increase. However, the bill might provide an incentive for the collection of additional intercensal data to improve existing databases; to this extent, increased costs and respondent burden would probably result. The actual language of the bill does not make clear whether the use of certain data would be permissive, particularly in circumstances where the most current data are not the best data. GAO recommended that the bill be amended to make it explicit that the quality of the most currently available data should be a factor to be considered in benefit determinations. The bill clearly provides for the use of intercensal data when the enabling legislation merely requires the use of population data; therefore, the bill should be amended to clarify this point.
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