As we move ahead in this tax-filing season, I wonder how many people in our community will have difficulty getting the help they need from the IRS to answer their tax questions. I'm afraid the number is substantial due in large part to the failure of Congress to avoid the federal budget cuts occurring because of sequestration.
As president of Chapter 100 of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), I can tell you that IRS employees want to serve the public efficiently and effectively - but are working this filing season with 5,000 fewer employees than just two years ago, Now, along with other government employees, my members face the prospect of days of unpaid furlough because of sequestration.
That's not good for them or for our country. What's more, the IRS collects 93 percent of all our government's revenue, so furloughing IRS workers will increase the deficit.
What's so frustrating is that federal workers already have contributed $103 billion to deficit reduction and economic recovery - more than any other group - yet are among the first to be hit by the severe budget cuts under sequestration. The much better path for us all would be to cancel sequestration and enact a balanced deficit reduction measure.