Prohibit Hiring New IRS Agents to Enforce the Health Care Law
Savings of $5 billion to $10 billion over 10 years
According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next ten years the IRS will require between $5 billion and $10 billion in funding to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka the new health care law). These funds will be used to hire thousands of additional IRS agents and employees. Reforming our health care system shouldn’t require expanding the IRS. By prohibiting funding for both the expansion of the IRS for this purpose and the enforcement of the individual health care mandate, we can protect taxpayers while we work to repeal the law.
This of course failed.
Consolidate and Reduce Funding for Federal Advisory Committees
Savings $34 million next year and $340 million over ten years
In 2008, the Federal government spent $342 million on 917 active Federal Advisory Committees. These committees had nearly 64,000 total members. Many of these Committees are duplicative. For example the National Endowment for the Arts spent $1.3 million on two separate advisory panels both of which makes recommendations to the NEA chairman. At the U.S. Geological Survey, the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee actually recommended the creation of the National Earthquake Prediction Council. Now taxpayers fund both committees at a cost of nearly $200,000 a year. These earthquake committees are in addition to a third committee run by the Department of Commerce that costs taxpayers another $43,000. In 2005, the Department of Interior even created an advisory committee to advise it on dog management at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Three years later, this committee cost taxpayers $41,000. Consolidating existing Advisory Committee and with a goal of reducing overall funding by 10% would save taxpayers $34 million next year and $170 million over five years.
Terminate Duplicative Federal Bicycle and Walking Program
Saves $183 million a year or $1.8 billion over ten years
Created in 2005, the Federal "Safe Routes to Schools Program" finances both infrastructure and non-infrastructure (10 to 30% of total funding) projects to "empower communities to make walking and bicycling to school a safe and routine activity once again." The infrastructure components of this program, such as sidewalks and bike paths, have traditionally been viewed as local responsibilities. The non-infrastructure portion includes items such as public awareness campaigns and training volunteers. The program even requires that every state employ a full-time person dedicated to coordinating this federal program despite the fact that the law already requires every state to employ a separate full-time person to coordinate bicycle and pedestrian activities. Returning these responsibilities to state and local officials and removing federal mandates would generate savings for taxpayers.
Suspend Federal Land Purchases
Saves $266 million next year and $2.66 billion over ten years
Last year Congress spent $266 million acquiring additional federal lands at the Departments of Interior and Agriculture. This is a 138% increase over the comparable amount of funding just four years ago. Given that the federal government already owns 29% of the land in America and has a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog to maintain current land holdings, suspending new federal land purchases would permit the government to focus on maintaining existing property while also saving taxpayers millions of dollars a year.
Require Collection of Unpaid Taxes From Federal Employees
Savings of potentially $1 billion +
In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that over 97,000 federal employees were delinquent on their federal income taxes, owing a total of $1 billion in unpaid taxes. This includes 1,151 employees who owe $7 million at the Department of Treasury which oversees the IRS. By requiring at a minimum that the IRS to work with federal agencies to withhold a portion of each employee's paycheck who is determined to have a "seriously delinquent tax debt," we can ensure that federal employees are paying their fair share of taxes. Failure to pay required taxes should result in disciplinary actions designed to ensure that the taxpayers are made whole. In addition to collecting back taxes already due, this reform will ensure future unpaid taxes are also collected.
Taxpayer Subsidized Union Activities
Saves potentially $120 million a year and $1.2 billion over ten years
Currently, some federal employees spend up to 100% of their workweek, paid by taxpayers, doing work for their union. Federal employees unions collect millions in revenue each year and spend significant amounts on political activities and lobbying, should they also be subsidized by the taxpayer for their official functions? In 2008 the Federal government spent $120 million paying employees for their time spent working on union activities (over five years this would total a minimum of $600 million.) (Also proposed as part of the RSC Sunset Caucus.)