IRS leadership ready for more funding

IRS modernization Web site

The Internal Revenue Service has the management structure in place to handle additional funds on its modernization plans, IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti told House appropriators.

Under persistent questioning from Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Rossotti said the IRS could use "modestly a greater amount" for modernization. However, he said, "we plan for the funds available."

The Bush administration's fiscal 2002 budget proposal requests $398 million for IRS information technology modernization. But the IRS Oversight Board, which was created by the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, has said the IRS needs $1 billion over two years if it is going to implement its modernization plan effectively.

Even if the IRS does not get additional funding, the hearing before the House Appropriations Committee's Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Subcommittee made it clear that lawmakers have more faith in the IRS' current leadership team than they have had in past management teams.

Senior IRS officials acknowledged following the hearing that it is unlikely Congress will propose additional funds for modernization.

Rep. Ernest Istook Jr. (R-Okla.), chairman of the subcommittee, said the IRS' overall fiscal 2002 budget proposal seeks an increase of $582 million more than was approved for fiscal 2001, noting that the request is more than 80 percent of the proposed increase for the entire Treasury Department.

To tap a source of existing money, the IRS has submitted a request for $128 million — the balance of the funds in the IRS Information Technology Investment Account, which funds the IRS modernization effort. Under the IRS reform law, the agency must get approval from Treasury officials, the General Accounting Office, and House and Senate appropriators before the funds are released.

Istook said he is reviewing the IRS request "in light of the continuing and serious management weaknesses" reported by the General Accounting Office about the tax service's problems balancing its books.

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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