There has been much discussion, and a fair amount of controversy, about the 2020 Census; however, putting all the politics to one side, there are some REALLY important reasons why everyone in Tahoe, especially YOU, should complete the census.
Firstly is the issue of government funding. Funding allocations for fire departments, hospitals, schools, roads, block grants for mental health services, the SNAP food program and over 100 other vital resources are based on census numbers. Here in Tahoe, each person counted in the census equates to app. $2000 in government funding. So if you don’t fill out the census – that is $2000 LESS coming to our community EVERY year for a decade.
Secondly, the census determines government representation. How many seats each State has in the House of Representatives is based on the census count and those same numbers are also used to draw up congressional and state legislative districts. In South Tahoe we often complain that our viewpoints and needs are not fully heard or understood at the County or State level. If not enough people in Tahoe complete the census, we could run the risk of losing representation and that would mean more decisions being made in Placerville, Carson, Sacramento and Washington DC that don’t reflect the will of the community.
Thirdly, lots of different groups use the census data. For example, here at the Club we use the census data to help us apply for grants. The more grants we have, the easier it is for us to keep membership fees low and continue to improve the quality of our programs. Businesses also use the census data to decide where to open new stores or offer their products. If we want to continue to grow our local economy, and have more and better paying jobs in Tahoe, then completing the census is vital.
Fourthly, it is really quick and easy. There are only 9 questions and you will NOT be asked to state your social security number or your citizenship. By law the Census Bureau has to keep your information confidential – even from law enforcement. This means that even if you are in the US illegally, haven’t paid your parking tickets or forgot to file taxes last year – it doesn’t matter, you are 100% protected and should complete the census.
Fifthly, and perhaps the most important reason is YOU. You are a member of our community, our State and our Country and YOU deserve to be counted.
Census day is April 1st 2020 and by mid-March the majority of households will have received the Census in the mail. You can also respond by phone or email. The El Dorado Community Foundation is working hard to put tablets and assistants in schools and organizations throughout South Lake Tahoe to assist with the count, and the Census Bureau will start following up with in-person visits to homes in May. When responding you will answer for where you were living on April 1st – even if you have moved by the time you answer the census.
We sincerely hope that everyone in our community will complete the census and ensure that Tahoe continues to receive the funding, representation and support that we need and deserve. Thank you in advance for taking part in this important task.