Print Industry Leader Calls for More Federal Government Work to Private Sector Printers
However, that number just a few years back was more than $500 million.
Last year, total GPO work to the private sector was $440 million. There has been roughly a 27% drop in GPO derived income by private sector printers over the past dozen years. Factor in inflation and the drop is even more dramatic. "The reason for the drop is not better management, more efficiency, or even less print. Au contraire, the reason for the drop is the uncontrolled growth of the in-house print plant operated by GPO, the granting of waivers by the government for the operating of thousands of other in-house print plants, and the active efforts by many government agencies to get around the rules," Gindlesperger explained. "This does not bode well for the print industry — especially now that the sky may be falling in for many printers."
This significant drop is a growing concern because, by all accounts, government agencies are requesting more print now than ever. Federal government forms alone, according to a recent New York Times news story, have increased to more than 8,000 different types — enough to require 10 billion hours of time to fill out compared to just one billion hours in 1981.
So, why less work to the private sector when government print demands are increasing? It seems Congressional directives are not being followed. According to Title 44 of the U. S. Code enacted by Congress in 1813, all print procurement by executive, legislative and judiciary agencies must be ordered through the GPO, as opposed to through individual agencies. Now, though, a system is being created by GPO and agency administrators as they use waivers to channel GPO work directly to agency print shops, third party creative agencies, and contractors including those for the U. S. Department of Defense and other departments. "Accountability is limited," Gindlesperger said. "No one knows how many agency print shops exist, and they certainly do not know how much print work is produced by them. We do know GPO work to the private sector is dropping. We also know that if the government were a private sector entity, the total amount of its print would be between $30 billion and $90 billion, not the $1 billion or so GPO either prints in-house itself or procures from the private sector."