IRS budget 'sensible'

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says the IRS budget is about right, despite calls by the IRS Oversight Board that the tax collectors need additional money for modernization.

"In balancing competing priorities in the budget, the president has requested a sensible but significant 7 percent increase in funding for the IRS, which is nearly twice the average governmentwide increase," O'Neill said in a statement issued last week.

The Bush administration's fiscal 2002 budget proposes $397 million for the IRS Information Technology Investment Account. The board, however, says the IRS needs $1 billion over two years — $450 million in fiscal 2002 and $550 million in fiscal 2003.

"I am confident that the amount in the president's budget will allow the IRS to provide America's taxpayers with better quality service and help to enforce the tax law with integrity and fairness," O'Neill said.

The Treasury secretary's comments come in response to the Oversight Board's 24-page analysis of the Bush budget request, which warned that the administration's budget "does not adequately support the IRS Strategic Plan and provides inadequate support for technology modernization."

IRS Oversight Board chairman Larry Levitan has said that the reduced funds will delay the modernization of a system that is broken.

"The impact of this reduction will be to slow down a critical program that is already taking too long," the board said in a statement last week.

Created under 1998 IRS reform legislation, the IRS Oversight Board was designed to act as a corporate board of directors for the IRS and to assist Congress with oversight responsibilities. This is the first year the board put forward its opinion on the IRS budget.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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