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Beef up — don’t bludgeon — the IRS

Photo: Pgiam/ Getty Images
Beef up — don’t bludgeon — the IRS
By Pete Levine ·

Mention “IRS” and you’re likely to get a grimace or a groan. But the Internal Revenue Service collects taxes that are used to fund our essential public services — services AFSCME members provide. And just as importantly, the agency ensures that all of us pay our fair share of taxes, even the super-wealthy.

So why is the incoming House leadership working to rescind $80 billion in much-needed funding for the IRS?

AFSCME supported $80 billion in new funding over 10 years that the Inflation Reduction Act earmarked for the IRS. It was a much-needed investment in an already under-funded agency responsible for holding wealthy taxpayers — who have the means to game the system and shirk their tax obligations — accountable.

A better-funded IRS means, in part, more agents who can unravel the tax schemes the super-wealthy and big corporations use to rig the system. It means that the estimated $160 billion that the top 1% manage to avoid paying in taxes each year could instead be used for early child and elder care, closing the health care coverage gap and more.

According to American For Tax Fairness, a coalition of national, state and local organizations that support a fair tax system, the reason the leaders of the House of Representatives are going after the IRS funding is to protect their wealthy donors, who use various schemes to avoid paying their taxes, while hardworking Americans continue to pay their fair share.

And while the new leadership’s bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, it’s a clear sign what their priorities are.

What’s fair is fair. We all need to pay our taxes – even the uber-rich. Let’s fund the IRS so it can do its job and unrig the economy that’s stacked against working families.

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