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February 18, 2008

OMB Going Paperless: the Draft FY09 Budget Released by the White House is an E-Budget

Posted by Michel Lazare

The US President's draft FY09 budget was released on February 4, 2008. Not many observers or commentators have noted that, for the first time, the White House did not release the budget in print but electronically: this FY09 budget is an e-budget.

In the picture above, President George W. Bush holds up a computer with the e-Budget for the cameras during a cabinet meeting held on February 4, 2008. Later the President said: "I submitted the budget today to Congress. It's on a laptop notebook, an e-budget. It saves paper, saves trees, saves money. I think it's the first budget submitted electronically."

Cabinet_budget_meeting_2

 

 

(on the left: picture of the February 4, 2008 cabinet meeting)



This electronic release of the budget was pre-announced in a statement made on January 9, 2008 by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Jim Nussle.

STATEMENT BY OMB DIRECTOR
JIM NUSSLE ON E-BUDGET

Washington, DC — In an effort to save taxpayer dollars and reduce unnecessary paper copies, I am pleased to announce the White House will release an E-Budget on Monday, February 4, 2008.

This step to go paperless for the first time means the White House will not order hard copy versions of the upcoming Fiscal Year 2009 Federal Budget, and will instead post the Budget on line at www.budget.gov. The E-Budget will be fully searchable, available for downloading, and will continue a hallmark of the Bush Administration – greater transparency of federal spending.

With an estimated total of nearly 2,200 pages in the four-book budget set, and a projected order of more than 3,000 copies for the media, Capitol Hill and the White House, the E-Budget will have a “green” focus above and beyond the fiscal sense. This step will save nearly 20 tons of paper, or roughly 480 trees. In terms of fiscal savings, we estimate the E-Budget will save nearly a million dollars over the next five years.

Having an E-Budget also aligns well with the President’s E-Gov initiative, which focuses on utilizing technology to make the Federal Government more efficient and to improve transparency in order to better serve citizens, businesses and agencies alike.

The White House has made the decision to embrace an E-Budget, and we encourage others to make the same choice.

As noted in Jim Nussle's statement, the e-budget is part of the "President's E-Gov initiative." Details on this e-government initiative can be found by clicking on this link.

(White House photos by Joyce N. Boghosian)

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