I found the news reports about the house resolution that was passed by the House this week and the related bill that was introduced to be extremely interesting. The resolution declared solidarity with Israel and pledges to give the Israeli government the funding that it needs to defeat Hamas. However, the related bill that has been introduced by Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House, to provide $14.3 billing in funding also identified the area of the U.S. budget that would be cut to offset this funding to Israel.
“Johnson’s new bill would pay for the spending with $14.5 billion in cuts to the long-understaffed Internal Revenue Service.”House Republicans aim to pay for Israel aid with cuts to IRS funds, npr.com, October 31, 2023
As I am sure you will agree, my first thought after reading this was $14.5 billion sounds like a lot of money. I was curious about how big of a spending cut this would be, so I looked up the amount of the IRS budget, and here is what I found:
“The IRS FY 2023 budget request is $14.1 billion, $2.2 billion (18.3 percent) more than the FY 2022 annualized continuing resolution level of $11.92 billion.”IRS Budget in Brief, Fiscal Year 2023, home.treasury.gov
Now you understand the title of this article. If this bill is passed and signed into law, the IRS would have no budget in which to operate. And yes, I understand that the chances of this being passed by both houses of congress and signed into law by the president is very close to zero, but I do find it intriguing that this would even be introduced at all. What was the motivation to tie the Israeli funding to defunding the entire IRS budget? Is there truly a motivation by the leadership in congress to get rid of the IRS? What does this mean for U.S. taxpayers?
I must admit I do not have the answers to these questions. However, I do believe this is worth watching in the coming months. With the enormous debt that has been run up by our government, along with the record budget deficits incurred the past few years, I firmly believe there will be a day of financial reckoning at some point in the future. We have gone many years without either political party even discussing these issues, but I do believe this will need to be addressed soon. Could the current income tax be replaced in the future by a national sales tax? Do we have the fortitude to make the difficult decisions to cut government spending? Will we need to look at reducing the scope and services offered by the federal government? I expect these topics to enter into the national debate going forward, and as a tax professional I will be monitoring the rhetoric and actions as we go forward. The path we are on is not sustainable, and I do believe difficult decisions will have to be made at some point in the near future. Let’s watch and see what happens!