Lawmakers Ask Obama to End IRS Privatization
Fourteen members of Congress have written to President-elect Obama asking that his incoming administration end contracts with two private companies that perform tax collection duties for the Internal Revenue Service, an arrangement that has angered Federal workers' unions, customers and others.
As The Washington Post first reported in April, the IRS has used three private companies to collect $1 billion in unpaid taxes. By April the companies had collected only $49 million, little more than half of what the IRS paid to start the program.
A new letter signed by members of the House Ways and Means Committee urges Obama to abandon the program altogether.
"In light of the current economic situation, it is important that the Administration protect taxpayers by ensuring that they deal with the IRS directly to work through any difficulties," the letter states. It does not express any other concerns about the program beyond the nation's current economic situation however.
Reps. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-Pa.), Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) co-signed the letter to Obama.
Renewing the contracts with private tax collectors is currently under consideration by the IRS. The contract would be renewed in March 2009 for one year.
“This program has been a financial failure and even the IRS acknowledges the work could be done more cost-effectively by IRS employees,” National Treasury Employees Union president Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement. “Renewing the contracts -- much less extending the program -- would just perpetuate the waste, risk and abuse. It is past time to end this program.”
Ending the privatization program tops an NTEU wish-list it hopes the Obama administration will address once it takes over. It also wants the ability to unionize Transportation Security Administration employees and the restoration of a Clinton-era executive order that established labor-management partnerships within the Federal workforce.
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