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Cutting Census Funding Will Hurt Small Business

Cutting Census Funding Will Hurt Small Business
Photograph by Mark Hertzberg/Journal Times/AP Photo

Following several years of attempts to cut federal government data collection, the House of Representatives recently voted to eliminate the American Community Survey (ACS), the U.S. Census Bureau’s most comprehensive annual effort, as part of its 2013 appropriations bill. While the Senate is unlikely to pass as extreme a measure, the final law forged in conference will probably weaken the survey.

Doing so is misguided. The ACS is a crucial tool: Academics, businesses, and lawmakers use it to figure out what’s happening within our population, interpreting societal shifts, focusing resources, and forging policy. Any reduction is bad, particularly for small business, which often can’t afford to pay for data from private services.