Apr 12, 2010 8:54 PM by Monica Quintero
State and local governments hammered by the recession have dramatically cut spending on outreach for the 2010 Census. California dedicated $24.7 million to the 2000 Census campaign. But the 2010 Census outreach budget is only $2 million. This despite, an under count that could cost the state billions in federal funding as well as a congressional seat. There's census information at Santa Maria city hall in another effort to make it easier on residents.
Martin Valdez, Santa Maria resident, said, "I have heard plenty of information. I think it has been well publicized." So far, California has a 63-percent participation rate in the 2010 Census. The rate is also the same for Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. San Luis Obispo is a bit higher at 66-percent and Paso Robles at 67-percent.
Santa Maria city officials want to remind you it's critical. It determines federal funding allocated to our communities. Mark van de Kamp, City of Santa Maria spokesperson, said, "We get one chance to do this right and then we are going to be with that number for 10 years."
You can help out just by sending in your information, it only costs about 42-cents. But if someone comes knocking at your door that's about $57 and it's money that comes from you, the taxpayer. Van de Kamp said, "The Census doesn't care if you're a legal resident or an illegal resident." Valdez said, "I think there's a good percentage of people who are still afraid."
Santa Maria like other Central Coast communities could lose big bucks for each person not counted. In fact, it's estimated Santa Maria could lose about $2,000 a year for each resident not counted in the 2010 Census.
Santa Maria city officials said they are getting plenty of help. They said numerous non-profits are assisting and groups that help those who speak other languages. One big target has been the Hispanic community. The 2000 Census showed it was about 59.5-percent and they're expecting an even bigger number this time around.
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