Deteriorating IRS Customer Service (podcast and infographic)

2015 Tax Filing Season infographic thumbnailIf you have a question about your taxes, you can call the IRS. But you may have to wait awhile to get the help you need.

Listen to Jay McTigue, a director in our Strategic Issues team, discuss what his team recently found when they reviewed IRS’s performance in the 2015 tax filing season.

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Is the Future of the Littoral Combat Ship Adrift?

defenseThe Littoral Combat Ship is one of the Navy’s most high-profile programs. But is it heading for rough seas? The Defense Secretary recently called on the Navy to cut procurement of these ships from 52 to 40, narrow down the design options, and spend the savings on either more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or on upgrading existing ships.

What’s wrong with the Littoral Combat Ship program? In today’s WatchBlog, we share why we urged Congress to delay funding for them.

$34 billion program Continue reading

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Federal Grants and Other Assistance

govFederal grants pay for all manner of things, including highways, health care, and education. Today’s WatchBlog follows the money trail of federal grants, discusses ways to improve grant management, and explores some ways the federal government can help states and localities without cutting a check.

$600 Billion Continue reading

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It Takes Money to Make Money (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconThe U.S. Mint made 13 billion coins in 2014—some of which cost more to make than they’re worth. How can the government save money making money?

Listen to Lori Rectanus, a director in our Physical Infrastructure team, discuss her team’s recent review of coin composition, and how changing what metals are used to make coins could affect the government and businesses.

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Tracking the E-cigarette Trade

thumbnail_gaoUp to 90% of electronic cigarette devices in the multi-billion-dollar U.S. e-cigarette market are imported, according to expert estimates.

But until recently, the federal government couldn’t determine the volume of e-cigarette imports because they were lumped together for tracking purposes with things like glow sticks and hand-held calorie counters. Starting January 1, 2016, there are new tracking codes for imported e-cigarettes. What does this mean? Today’s WatchBlog explores. Continue reading

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Getting Closure on Our Recommendations

thumbnail_gaoLast year, we blogged about why agencies implement GAO’s recommendations. Looking at our annual Performance and Accountability Report, you can see that we’ve averaged 1,800 recommendations a year with an average 80% implementation rate between fiscal years 2010-2015.

This adds up to real savings. In fiscal year 2015 alone, our work resulted in $74.7 billion in savings—a return of about $134 for every $1 invested in us.

But what about the recommendations not yet closed? In today’s post, we’re checking up on some of these open recommendations. Continue reading

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Women on Corporate Boards (infographic)

women on corporate-boards infographic thumbnailWomen account for almost half the nation’s workforce. How do they fare higher up the corporate ladder?

We looked into women’s representation on corporate boards by analyzing data and talking to CEOs, board directors, and others.

Check out our latest infographic for what we found. Continue reading

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A Year in Crossword

thumbnail_gaoA year is long time in WatchBlog years. As we near the end of 2015, we’re taking a look back at the myriad of topics we’ve covered. From aviation to zoonotics, and almost every letter in between, we’ve had quite a year! Think you’ve been keeping up? For Crossword Puzzle Day, try out our year-end crossword. The puzzle is available as an interactive webpage here, or in PDF version here. Stumped? Just click on the clues to bring you to the post with the answer. Continue reading

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Air Travel and Communicable Diseases (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconStopping communicable disease from spreading via air travel involves local, national, and international efforts, as illustrated by the 2015 Ebola epidemic. How do governments plan and coordinate with airports and airlines that potentially carry sick passengers?

Listen to Gerald Dillingham, a director in our Physical Infrastructure team, share what his team found when they examined what airports and airlines are doing to prepare for outbreaks of communicable diseases.

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State and Local Fiscal Futures (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconAcross the country, state and local governments are facing uncertain fiscal futures. So, for almost a decade, we’ve run simulations of state and local governments’ finances to see what the future holds.

Explore our most recent update to our state and local fiscal outlook model, and listen to Michelle Sager, a director in our Strategic Issues team who led the update, discuss the latest trends.

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