What was bad news for Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer, Tim Geithner and now Hilda Solis might be good news for the federal government. Their recent tax woes --
Their recent tax woes — by which we mean their getting caught not paying their (or their spouses’) taxes — mean that the IRS is probably right about (or even underestimating?) the extent to which Americans — both individuals and corporations — cheat on their taxes. (In its latest tally, the IRS estimates that the 2001 tax gap — the chasm between taxes owed and taxes actually collected — was $345 billion.)
Why is that good news? Because much of that could be retrievable.
As Te-Ping Chen at The Center for Public Integrity points out this week, every dollar the IRS spends on tax enforcement returns five dollars. Chen also offers a few reasons why the IRS hasn’t closed the gap in recent years:
One reason is a slump in IRS staffing. Over the past decade, the number of agents that perform audits has dropped by over a third. Meanwhile in 2007, in what the Syracuse University-based Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse calls a “historic collapse,” only 26 percent of corporations holding at least $250 million in assets had their books inspected — compared to more than 70 percent in 1990. (The fact that Congress outsourced debt collection to private agencies in 2004, costing the government $37 million more than such agencies manage to collect, hasn’t helped either.)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, has been screaming from the rafters for years about how Congress needs to find some way to close the tax gap. Daschle & Co. might just provide the impetus for lawmakers to start trying in earnest.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
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E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some
EPA: BP Has 24 Hours to Find a Less Toxic Chemical Dispersant
Thought the massive quantities of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico were the only major threat to the country’s southeast coastal waters right now? Think
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA Chief Overruled Calif. Waiver, Too
The Washington Post reported in March that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson was overruled by the White House in setting an ozone standard. Now, documents