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House Bill Would Fire Feds Who Owe Back Taxes

From the Daily Caller:

Federal employees who don’t pay taxes would be fired under bill that passed committee

By Alex Pappas | March 20, 2013

WASHINGTON — Citing figures indicating that more than 100,000 federal employees owe more than $1 billion in federal taxes, a House committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would require the firing of government workers who are “seriously tax delinquent.”

The legislation, introduced by Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, advanced through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It now has to pass the full House to be implemented into law.

“Most taxpayers file accurate tax returns and pay the taxes they owe on time, regardless of their income,” Chaffetz, a Republican, said during the hearing Wednesday. “Federal employees and individuals applying for federal employment should do the same.”

The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013 requires the termination of employment for tax delinquent federal employees, while also prohibiting the hiring of new federal employees with a substantial amount of delinquent tax debt.

Just think, if such a requirement had been in place four years ago, Obama would have had a very different cabinet.

“The intent of the bill is simple,” Chaffetz said. “If you are a federal employee or applicant, you should be making a good faith effort to pay your taxes or to dispute them, as all taxpayers have the right to do.”

Chaffetz explained that the term “seriously tax delinquent” is defined as having an outstanding federal tax debt where a notice of lien has been publicly filed.

The bill exempts employees who can demonstrate financial hardships and an effort of working to settle tax liabilities.

Democrats on the committee opposed the bill. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the committee, said the legislation “seeks to demonize federal employees rather than ensure their compliance with tax obligations.”

We thought Democrats liked to demonize people who refuse to pay their ‘fair share’ of taxes?

“By requiring agencies to fire employees for not paying their taxes on time, the measure actually undermines the ability of the government to collect the unpaid taxes,” Cummings said. “It is much, much, much more difficult to recoup the delinquent taxes from someone who is unemployed.” …

Tell that to the IRS, who have no bones about going after people who are out of work. Still, maybe there is room for compromise. Allow them to continue to work, but garnish their wages at 100% until their tax bills are paid. Then fire them.

Meanwhile, speaking of the Honorable Elijah Cummings, we also have this, from the Washington Post (of all place):

What’s the deal with the Elijah Cummings furlough announcement?

By Josh Hicks | March 20, 2013

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) announced during a House committee hearing Tuesday that he had decided to furlough employees as a result of the automatic spending cuts that took effect March 1.

To the best of our knowledge, no other lawmakers have decided to place personal staff on unpaid leave to meet their reduction targets under the so-called sequester.

We wanted to know more about Cummings’s decision, but his staff has refused to discuss the matter. Spokeswoman Safiya Simmons said the Office of House Employment Counsel advised that sharing details about furloughs could violate House policy on personnel actions.

Simmons declined to explain which policy she was referring to, but the Office of House Employment Counsel said no rule exists that would prohibit Cummings or his staff from speaking about furloughs.

Furthermore, the sequester guidance from the Committee on House Administration doesn’t mention anything about members of Congress being required to withhold furlough information from the public.

That is to say, Ms. Simmons lied.

As for any details about the unpaid leave in store for Cummings’s staff, we only know what the congressman said during Tuesday’s hearing.

“I know I’ve just told my employees to take two days of furlough,” Cummings said. “People say sequestration does not have an impact that’s real, that’s a real deal. Some of these people making 40 [thousand dollars], $45,000, they’re losing two days a month. That’s real. As a matter of fact, they’ve already started taking furloughed days.”

It is unclear from that statement how many furlough days Cummings will impose on his staff for the remainder of the fiscal year or how many employees from his office will be affected by the decision.

Lawmakers interviewed for previous Washington Post articles about the sequester’s impacts on the legislative branch have said they expect to absorb their portion of the automatic cuts without placing staff members on unpaid leave.

Those legislators said they have taken other steps to reduce costs, such as altering phone plans, eliminating non-essential travel, cancelling magazine and newspaper subscriptions, cutting back on mailers and reducing staff numbers through attrition.

Cummings ranked 19th among members of Congress in terms of highest percentage of total office allowance spent in 2011, according to a USA Today analysis of official statements of disbursement. The congressman’s office spent 96.6 percent of its roughly $1.4 million allocation that year, the report showed.

Democrats took the top 20 spots on that list, with each of their offices in those cases spending at least 96 percent of their allowances. Republicans held 17 of the bottom 20 positions, with none of those offices spending more than 75 percent of their allocated funds.

The sequester requires congressional offices to reduce their spending by 8.2 percent, which means any lawmakers using less than 91.8 percent of their office’s allowance would be would not have to adjust spending under the automatic budget cuts.

If Mr. Cummings can’t pay his staff with a $1.4 million dollar a year allocation, then maybe his staff is too big and too over-paid.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, March 21st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “House Bill Would Fire Feds Who Owe Back Taxes”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Won’t happen. First Court challenge … poof.

    Selective Prosecution won’t fly.

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