[ApaIllinois] American Community Survey in Jeopardy - Deadline TODAY

Paula Freeze, APA-IL Editor editor at ilapa.org
Tue May 15 12:12:24 CDT 2012

Greetings APA-IL Chapter Members:
With the significant demographic shifts we are currently experiencing, and expect to experience in the future, it is very unfortunate that there is a proposal to eliminate one of the last sources of data necessary for understanding trends in our communities which in turn often lead to informed planning decisions and policy frameworks. I urge you to spread the word about this issue and encourage your community to become involved.
Rob Kowalski, AICP
APA-IL Chapter President

 From: JJordan at planning.org
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 18:40:50 +0000
Subject: [Legislative] Take Action: American Community Survey in Jeopardy


Last week the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to eliminate the American Community Survey (ACS). The vote came during consideration of the FY 2013 funding bill for the Department of Commerce. This action strikes at the heart of the quality of federal data for local planning. ACS was created as the replacement for census “long form” data. Thus, ACS is the only source for a variety of critical housing, demographic, economic and social data.

The Senate is expected to take up its version of the Commerce Department funding bill as early as next week. A broad coalition of organizations, ranging from major business groups to civil rights organizations, are working to ensure the Senate understands the vital importance of ACS and the role of small area data in making good policy and economic decisions. ACS is also the base for a variety of formula allocations for federal and state programs. Suffice to say, ACS is an important source of information that can’t be found elsewhere.

APA is a charter member of the Census Project. This is the coalition organizing a national letter to the Senate regarding ACS. APA has signed the letter. State and local organizations are being encouraged to also join the letter. Accordingly, I am encouraging APA’s chapters to formally endorse the letter. 

A copy of the letter is attached to this email. To join the letter, simply send an email to Brendan Nichols at the Census Project bnichols at ccmc.org along with your chapter name indicating your support. Likewise, local governments are also being encouraged to endorse the letter so feel free to spread the word. However, time is short. The initial letter signing deadline is close of business TODAY. I apologize for the short notice, but the letter needs to be sent immediately to Senate offices. If you choose to join the letter, please also send me an email to let me know.

ACS is in serious jeopardy. In addition to voting to eliminate the ACS, the House also approved a separate amendment making ACS responses voluntary. This would make the ACS both more expensive and less reliable. It’s unlikely the Senate would adopt such far-reaching provisions but now is the time to send a strong message to Senate leaders to stand firm in any negotiations on a final package with the House. 

At the recent APA National Planning Conference in Los Angeles, the APA Board of Directors formally adopted new legislative priorities. Among our top priorities for federal policy advocacy is ensuring high quality federal data for local and regional planning and decision making. This issue is important and I hope you will take action:

· Have your chapter join the national letter
· Encourage your members to visit the APA online legislative action center to email their Senators on this issue (www.planning.org/policy and click on action center)
· Spread the word about this issue. The APA policy blog has an article detailing the recent developments. (http://blogs.planning.org/policy) 
· Ask your state partner organizations and local governments to get engaged on this issue.

If you need more information or details, please feel free to contact me.

Jason Jordan | Director, Policy & Government Affairs
American Planning Association
1030 15th Street, NW, Suite 750 West | Washington, DC 20005
202.349.1005 (o) | 202.607.3762 (c) | jjordan at planning.org | www.planning.org 
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