GPO cuts budget to 2008 levels through digital revamp

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The Government Printing Office returned its budget to fiscal 2008 levels and cut $24 million due to an 11 percent reduction in staffing and utilization of digital documents, the agency says in an annual report released this week. 

GPO staffing is at its leanest in over a century, according to the report, with fewer than 1,900 employees on the payroll. The cuts also resulted in $5.2 million in net income for fiscal 2012, the report (.pdf) says.

Electronic information technology has reduced costs for the GPO, according to the report. In fiscal 1980, its annual appropriation was $96.1 million, which is about $255.9 million in today's dollars. The approved fiscal 2012 GPO budget was $90.6 million. That's a reduction of nearly 66 percent, adjusted for today's dollars.

Operating revenue was down 13.1 percent from $821.2 million to $708.6 million due to a decline in the amount of passports printed, from about 13.2 million in fiscal 2011 to about 10 million in fiscal 2012, the report adds. Operating expenses dropped 13.4 percent from $818.2 million to $708.6 million.

Another way the GPO saved was by implementing web apps that allow the public to access government information through mobile devices. Early in fiscal 2012, the office launched the Congressional Member Guide app, assisted the Library of Congress in developing a Congressional Record app and made the federal budget available through a mobile app.

GPO has also made documents from all three branches of government available digitally through a no-fee website. There are currently 800,000 documents available through the site and about 37 million documents are being retrieved digitally every month through the website, according to the report.

The office has taken its publication sales program digital as well. GPO offers public information as e-books through partnerships with Apple, Google and Barnes and Noble, according to the report.

For more:
download the GPO report (.pdf)

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