Hot Air reported on Tuesday that the House has voted to slash spending for the Internal Revenue Service by $1.14 billion dollars below the current fiscal year. That leaves a budget of just $9.8 billion for the next fiscal year, a 13 percent cut and a 22 percent cut below President Obama’s request. The move was a direct result of revelations of IRS harassment of tea party and conservative groups and the stonewalling of the investigations of the same.
Congressional Democrats are incensed, claiming that the budget cut hobbles the tax agency’s ability to conduct tax enforcement. They claim that for every dollar spent on tax collection, the IRS collects six dollars in taxes. Congressional Republicans suggest that the tax agency has often used its tax collection powers to violate the civil rights of tax payers. Nevertheless President Obama has threatened to veto any IRS spending bill with the level of budget cuts the House is contemplating.
Reaction to the vote has been decidedly mixed. On one side, the Huffington Post opined that the gutting of the IRS budge will lead to a plunge in tax revenues, the budget deficit exploding, and tax cheats getting off scot free, Service by the tax agency for tax payers will continue to worsen as there will be fewer employees to answer questions.
On the other side, at least one conservative commentator suggested that the House has not gone far enough. Why not vote to abolish the IRS altogether as a hopelessly current bureaucracy? Presumably this would mean that the current complicated tax code with a simplified flat tax or national sales tax.
Republicans believe that they are both on the right side of politics and policy concerning the IRS. The politics are obvious, as the tax agency is the most hated and feared government agency in the United States. The GOP believes that they are on the side of good policy as well as the budget cut will force the IRS to prioritize and cut unnecessary spending, particularly questionable bonuses to employees.