Have you filled out your Census form yet?
If not, do so.
It's important that every person living in the U.S. -- and Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Umatilla counties -- be counted.
This information is used to determine representation in Congress as well as how the federal government allocates $400 billion every year for roads, health care and other needs. The dollar amount received depends on population.
If you lost your Census form (or the dog ate it), another form is on the way. The Census Bureau is mailing another questionnaire to about 40 million households this week.
The government is taking this approach in the hope that fewer Census takers will have to be hired to knock on doors. The estimated cost of collecting the Census data by going door to door is $57 per household compared with 42 cents if it is done via mail.
The cost of conducting the 2010 Census has been estimated at $11 billion, although that could go higher depending on how much effort is required to count heads. Returning your form as quickly as possible will save money. When dealing with 309 million people -- the estimated U.S. population -- those dollars add up very quickly.
And if, for whatever reason, a Census taker comes to your door, be civil. Allow the Census taker to do the job as quickly and easily as possible.
As the door-to-door counting gets under way, there is some concern that Census takers might be in jeopardy of physical harm. Yes, there is a distrust -- even fear -- of government out there. But anger toward Census takers is misplaced. They are simply doing their jobs, the job we, taxpayers, have asked them to do.
The Census is a constitutionally mandated process. Refusing to take part or impeding the process is an unnecessary waste of our tax dollars.
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