Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's Census time!

Posted By on Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Don't pay any attention to the nuts telling you not to complete your 2010 Census forms. Why? If the government doesn't get an accurate head count, they can't accurately plan for and fund the next decade. Duh. So, look for your Census in March, complete it and send it in. (And don't give me any lip about it, either.)

Of course, why in the hell the government needs to spend so much money on a Census kick-off, why it's not online and why it takes them so damn long to tabulate the numbers is beyond me. Oh, right, it's the government. On the bright side, at least we don't have to stand in a line.

In Charlotte and around the country Monday, officials formally kicked off the 2010 Census with bipartisan, multicultural rallies that stressed the political and financial benefits at stake.

“The census is absolutely essential to our federal dollars, our state dollars and our local dollars,” Mecklenburg Board of County commissioners Chairman Jennifer Roberts told an uptown crowd. “The process is simple. It's secure. And it's significant.”

The rallies were part of the Census Bureau's $340 million promotional blitz designed to raise awareness of the decennial counting. Officials will launch a “Portrait of America Road Tour” in blue vans stocked with shirts, water bottles and other promotional material.

“There are 10 questions, it takes 10 minutes, and it makes a difference for your community for 10 years,” said Wayne Hatcher, the Census Bureau's Charlotte-based regional director.

At stake are the number of Carolinas representatives in Congress, and millions of dollars in government spending. Population figures helped steer federal grants of more than $478 billion for Medicaid, highways, housing and other programs in the past fiscal year. Census numbers also determine the shape of local voting districts and budgets.

“It's so vital to North Carolina and it's vital to the nation,” said U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Cherryville Republican and ranking member of a House subcommittee that oversees the census. “Every individual gets their representation, whether to the school board or U.S. House, based on the official count.”

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by Jim Morrill, here.

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