Somehow you just know public sector unions play a role in the recent news that federal workers owed billions of dollars in unpaid taxes last year.
As of Sept. 30, nearly 305,000 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in back taxes, according to Fox News. And while the number of workers who owe unpaid taxes reflects a decrease of 13,000, the amount owed jumped by $200 million over the previous year, according to the IRS.
Fox News reported that these statistics do not include federal workers who have reached an agreement to pay their back taxes in installments.
Adding insult to injury, congressional workers are included in the overall numbers — about 5 percent of House employees owed back taxes, compared to 3.5 percent of Senate employees.
Yet, the IRS has the time to single out conservative groups applying for non-exempt status for additional scrutiny? And Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department is free to interject itself in local police matters?
Nevertheless, it seems the federal government should embrace the concept of garnishing wages — a tactic widely used in the private sector.
Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee will consider legislation this week that will make someone with a “seriously delinquent tax debt” ineligible for federal employment, if passed.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve in the federal workforce,” said committee chairman U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. “These employees are not exempt from their civic responsibility to fulfill tax obligations and those who refuse to pay what they owe should be held accountable.”
It’s unclear how the legislation would affect current federal employees.
As for public sector unions, there’s nothing to suggest that membership determines whether a federal worker pays their taxes or not, but it leave one to wonder how aggressively these workers are pursued.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35.7 percent of public-sector workers in 2014 were union members, and Open Secrets reported these unions contributed $52.5 million last year alone to political parties and candidates — overwhelming favoring of the Democratic Party, which is tasked, through the Obama administration, with managing the federal government.
If it’s any consolation, federal workers are more likely to pay their taxes than the general public.
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