The final segment of our Member of the Week series continues with an issue profile as discussed by the Congressman. Yesterday, we presented Rep. Jason Chafettz's (R-UT) answers to five questions, including one about what aspect of government he would reform. He has sponsored the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act (H.R.828), which would terminate the employment of current federal employees who have a "seriously delinquent tax debt." The bill would also prevent the hiring of future employees who are also delinquent.
"Seriously delinquent" refers to tax debt for which a lien has been filed in public records. It would exclude active military personnel, those determined to be in economic hardship, and federal employees who agree to enter installment arrangements to pay off their debts.
Rep. Chaffetz introduced this bill a year ago, but it has gained national attention now that there is a report out that 280,000 federal employees owe over $3.4 billion in back taxes. Rep. Chaffetz made this straightforward argument:
"If you work for the federal government and you don't pay your taxes, you should be fired."
We, as taxpayers, pay the salaries of federal workers. If we have to pay our taxes in order for them to have a job, they should be required to pay their taxes as a means of keeping that job. Why should we be paying their salaries if they're not going to "pay their fair share," as the President likes to say.
Rep. Chaffetz was clearly ahead of the curve in sponsoring this bill a year before the report came out. Had Congress passed this bill (and President Obama signed it - a big if!) when it was introduced, then maybe the tax debt owed by these federal employees would have been taken care of.