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Digital government – Party platforms differ

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The Democratic Party platform drafted this week calls for providing the public with round-the-clock online access to government information and services, the Washington Post reported August 13.

The Republican platform also promises online government services. The two plans differ somewhat from one another. Gore’s plan emphasizes cooperation with unions and the accountability of contractors. Bush, on the other hand, hopes to make it easier for the government to contract out some of its activities.

It remains to be seen, however, if either party can deliver. For e-government to take off, Congress will have to direct more funding into upgrading the federal government’s computer and telecommunications systems.

The first steps are being taken. In mid-September, the General Services Administration will launch FirstGov.gov, a portal site that will provide one-stop access to federal grants and contracts for businesses and community groups.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service will launch Pay.gov later this year. The site will allow citizens and businesses to pay fees, fines and some taxes online.

For the full story, go to the Washington Post.

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