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Proposed budget cuts would force downsizing at IRS, union says

Oct. 12, 2011 - 01:13PM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said that IRS funding should be seen "as an investment for our country."
National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said that IRS funding should be seen "as an investment for our country." (James J. Lee / Staff file photo)

Proposed budget cuts would force the IRS to cut jobs and reduce tax enforcement activities that collect billions of dollars in revenue for government operations, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley said Wednesday.

Under a House-passed bill, the agency's 2012 budget would be cut by more than $600 million to $11.5 billion, while a Senate counterpart would provide $11.6 billion. Earlier this year, the Obama administration said the House measure would force the IRS to cut more than 4,200 full-time positions and reduce revenue collections by $4 billion. The administration has not yet provided comparable projections for the Senate bill.

Kelley reiterated those points Wednesday, saying that IRS funding should be seen not as a cost, "but as an investment for our country." The union, which represents most of the agency's 94,000-person workforce, is lobbying lawmakers to undo the proposed cuts and trying to raise public awareness of the potential impact.

The administration has proposed long-term increases to the IRS' enforcement funding as part of a plan presented last month to the House-Senate supercommittee charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.

The union has had only general conversations with IRS management about how any job losses would be handled, Kelley said. If cuts are needed, the union's foremost priority is to avoid a reduction-in-force.

"We're still determined to do everything we can to turn this thing around," she said.

Like other agencies, the IRS is operating through Nov. 18 under a continuing resolution that leaves spending slightly below its fiscal 2011 threshold of $12.1 billion.

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