For the first time in 10 years, federal IT spending through the General Services Administration\u2019s (GSA) multiple award schedule contracts declined in 2005, according to a report released Wednesday by Reston, VA.-based Input.For the first time in 10 years, federal IT spending through the General Services Administration\u2019s (GSA's) multiple award schedule contracts declined in 2005, according to a report released Wednesday by Reston, VA.-based Input.Spending fell 2% in fiscal 2005 to $16.5 billion, down from $16.8 billion in fiscal 2004, according to Input.The declined followed a five-year period of increases averaging more than 15% a year, Input said.\u201cIt\u2019s consistent with what we have seen across all levels of government, which is a general downturn in the purchase of hardware,\u201d said James Krouse, acting director of public sector market analysis at Input.\u201cGovernments are continuing to look more strategically at technology as an investment and the business models don\u2019t favor purchasing equipment and eating depreciation. So in some cases it shifts even more emphasis toward outsourcing non-core competencies.\u201dThe decrease in equipment spending through \u201cSchedule 70\u201d contracts may have also been caused by a shift in purchasing to other federal contract vehicles, the report said. Or it may indicate that demand for IT equipment by U.S. government agencies may be dropping due to capacity issues or infrastructure consolidation,.Krouse said the decrease was not dramatic in terms of overall Schedule 70 sales, which still account for 8% to 10% of total federal IT spending. While overall federal IT spending is increasing, Krouse expects the rate of growth will be lower than it has been in the last few years.Input also believes that more significant growth could come from cooperative purchasing agreements with state and local government agencies, Krouse said. State and local purchasing through GSA Schedule 70 is already increasing significantly, with $192 million spent in fiscal 2005, approximately twice what was spent in the year before, he said.\u201cIf state and local spending follows a trend similar to that of federal agencies over the past 10 years, GSA Schedule 70 could become a significant centralizing force for the public sector IT market,\u201d Krouse said.