Local Governments Wary of DATA Act Costs

The House recently passed legislation, the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, that would create a new independent, oversight commission to track federal spending on grants, contracts, loans and other assistance.  The bill (HR 2146) would expand the reporting requirements used to track Recovery Act spending to all federal grants and agencies.

Under the DATA Act, funding recipients would have to report at least quarterly to a newly created Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Board.  The Board would be tasked with developing standards for what information should be reported and to develop a public website that makes federal spending and reporting data easily accessible.  Federal agencies could impose penalties of up to $250,000 on recipients who fail to meet the reporting requirements.

Local government organizations are concerned that the bill does not provide any dedicated funding to carry out the reporting and necessary oversight, an unfunded mandate that comes at a time when local governments are still struggling financially to balance their budgets.

A Senate companion to the DATA Act has been introduced, but not yet been considered.


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