Census data on state and local government finance
In ABFM 2007, we had a roundtable discussion about Census data on state and local government finance. Henry Wulf was a key speaker; John Bartle and I were discussants. Part of the discussion was around a new report published by the National Academies Press.
State and Local Government Statistics at a Crossroads (2007)
To many people Census data represent the gold standard of governmental data collection. The Bureau is currently facing budget difficulties, but it is launching a serial of discussions to seek inputs about how to improve the timeliness and relevancy of their data collection in a cost-effective manner.
There are different user groups of the Census data. Many people rely on the trend analysis of basic economic series compiled by federal agencies. Their top concern has been timeliness. To me, the key question is how I can use the data to do consistent comparative analysis across governments over time. So it is ‚Äúcomparability‚Ä? that matters.