Smithsonian Institution FY ’09 Omnibus Budget

The Smithsonian Institution will receive a $48.7 million increase under the fiscal year (FY) 2009 omnibus spending bill (HR 1105), enacted into law this week. The total budget for the Smithsonian would grow to $731.4 million from the current $682.6 million.

Please note below that for comparison purposes, the FY ’08 budget number will be included in parentheses after this year’s amount followed by the increase or decrease from FY ’08 to FY ’09.

Total–$731.4 million ($682.6 million) +48.7 million

  • Program Support and Outreach–$39.8 million ($38.1 million) +$1.7 million
  • Salaries and Expenses–$593.4 million ($562.4 million) +$31 million
  • Facilities Capital–$123 million ($105.4 million) +$17.6 million

The bill includes $15 million for the Legacy Fund established in fiscal year 2008 to address major facility repair needs at the Smithsonian Institution. Funds are to be matched by private donations on a dollar for dollar basis. These funds are designated for critical repair and rehabilitation projects, which are part of the Smithsonian’s $2.5 billion backlog. Legacy Funds are not to be used for programmatic activity, exhibit installation, expansion of existing facilities or construction of new facilities.

The Appropriations Committees reallocated $10 million from President Bush’s budget request for facilities to restore reductions proposed in the budget for public programs, education, and research. The reallocation includes $5 million from facility services in the Salaries and Expenses account and $5 million from facilities planning in the Facilities Capital account.

In language accompanying the bill, the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations felt that much progress has been made by the Smithsonian to address the failures that contributed to a decline in Congressional and public confidence in the management and governance of the Smithsonian Institution. The Committees noted the appointment of a new Secretary, the restructuring of a more active Board of Regents, and the adoption of a series of policy changes to correct fiscal and management failures as very positive signs. The Committees believed, however, that these were only initial steps and that a continuing commitment to reform, especially to the principals of fiscal stewardship of public resources, and to accountability and openness, is essential. The Committees requested that the Government Accountability Office conduct a thorough review of the reform process and submit a progress report to the Committees no later than December 31, 2009.