It's nice to hear Congress talk about less spending and lower taxes. It would be better if people on Capitol Hill weren't such slack asses about paying their own taxes.
The Washington Post:
Capitol Hill employees owed $9.3 million in overdue taxes at the end of last year, a sliver of the $1 billion owed by federal workers nationwide but one with potential political ramifications for members of Congress.So, that means no exceptions for the delinquent taxpayers on the Hill, and not for the 28,000 Postal Service employees who owe $283 million or the 4,800 Homeland Security workers who owe $37 million. (Check those dog bowls in the airport scanners, TSA! Loose change!)
The debt among Hill employees has risen at a faster rate than the overall tax debt on the government's books, according to Internal Revenue Service data. It comes at a time when some Republican members are pushing for the firings of government workers who owe the IRS and President Obama has urged a crackdown on delinquent government contractors.
The IRS information does not identify delinquent taxpayers by name, party affiliation or job title and does not indicate whether members of Congress are among the scofflaws. It shows that 638 employees, or about 4 percent, of the 18,000 Hill workers owe money.
The average unpaid tax bill is $12,787 among the Senate's delinquent taxpayers and $15,498 among those working in the House.
IRS debt among government workers has surfaced repeatedly as a political issue over the years, most recently when Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced legislation this year to fire federal workers who owe back taxes unless they have entered into a payment plan. Eight Republicans co-sponsored the bill. No Democrats have signed on, and some have said firings would reduce the government's prospects of being paid.
"If you're on the federal payroll and you're not paying your taxes, you should be fired," Chaffetz said in an interview. He said the policy should apply across the board and "there should be no special exemptions."
The list goes on and on and is pretty demoralizing. It's one thing to be lazy. It's something else to just say, "Fuck it," and let the debt pile up. You know, if that's happening.
More from the Post:
Some tax experts and watchdog groups say that Capitol Hill employees have an added obligation to settle IRS debts.Sounds about right.
"Congress and their staff - because they are the people who write the tax laws and because they work for the public - have to be held to a higher standard," Steve Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, said when told of the IRS numbers.
"These are hard times, but they are on the government payroll," said Mortimer Caplin, an IRS commissioner for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and a founding partner of the Caplin & Drysdale law firm. "The idea of paying taxes is kind of fundamental to a sound democracy, and they certainly have a special obligation in that regard."