Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATIONS FOR

FISCAL YEAR 2000

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, 1999

U.S. SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met at 9:35 a.m., in room SD-116, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Robert F. Bennett (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Bennett and Feinstein.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION

STATEMENT OF HON. BILL ROTH, VICE CHAIRMAN

ACCOMPANIED BY LINDY L. PAULL, CHIEF OF STAFF

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT F. BENNETT Senator BENNETT. The subcommittee will come to order.

We welcome you to our second hearing on the fiscal year 2000 budget for the legislative branch of Government. We have three panels testifying this morning: the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Office of Compliance.

Our first witness will be Senator Bill Roth on behalf of the Joint Committee on Taxation, joined by Lindy Paull, the Chief of Staff of the Joint Committee. The budget request is for $6,256,000 for fiscal year 2000. This includes a cost-of-living adjustment for staff and a slight increase of $67,000 for non-personnel expenses.

Senator Feinstein, we welcome you. You braved your way through the storm as the rest of us did, and we are honored that you are here. Do you have any opening statement?

Senator FEINSTEIN. No. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, except to welcome the distinguished Senator to our esteemed subcommittee.

Senator BENNETT. Mr. Chairman, we look forward to hearing

a

from you.

Senator ROTH. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman and Senator Feinstein. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to appear today before the subcommittee on behalf of the fiscal year 2000 appropriation request for the Joint Committee on Taxation.

As you well know, Bill Archer and I have submitted a written statement, and I ask that this written statement be made part of the written record. Senator BENNETT. Without objection.

Senator ROTH. Mr. Chairman, I will just make a couple of brief points regarding this appropriation request. Actually you have touched on them already, but I will review them once more.

As you said, the Joint Committee is requesting an appropriation for fiscal year 2000 of $6,256,000. This represents a $290,600 increase over the fiscal year 1999 appropriation. This is a 4.87 percent increase. As you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, $223,000 of this amount will be allocated to cost-of-living increases for personnel expenses, and the remaining $67,000 will be allocated to proposed increases in non-personnel expenses.

Mr. Chairman, increased responsibilities have been assigned to the Joint Committee under the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act that was passed last summer. The Joint Committee estimated during consideration of the IRS Reform Act that these additional responsibilities would require approximately $290,000 of additional staff resources annually.

The Joint Committee is requesting 1.5 more FTE's for fiscal year 2000 to hire additional staff economists. These economists will work on revenue estimates so that the Joint Committee is able to respond to more Member requests. I think Lindy said we are responding roughly in the 80's.

Ms. PAULL. Right, 80 percent.
Senator ROTH. 80 percent.

In addition, the additional employees will allow the Joint Committee to devote more staff resources to the effort to develop macroeconomic estimating capability. I think that is a very important development.

Senator FEINSTEIN. You did say macro.

Senator ROTH. Yes, ma'am. And I think they are making some real progress, but they have a ways to go yet.

REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE FEDERAL TAX SYSTEM

Under the IRS Reform Act, the Joint Committee is required to report at least once each Congress to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on the overall state of the Federal tax system and to make specific recommendations for changes to the tax laws. The IRS Reform Act provided that this report is to be done subject to amounts being specifically appropriated to the Joint Committee for this purpose.

The fiscal year 2000 appropriation request does not contain any amount for this purpose. If the subcommittee decides to fund this added responsibility, the Joint Committee estimates an additional annual appropriation of $200,000 and three additional FTE's would be required.

Mr. Chairman and Senator Feinstein, I want to thank the subcommittee for its continued recognition of the important role the Joint Committee plays in the development of revenue legislation. I hope that the subcommittee will continue to support the operation of the Joint Committee for fiscal year 2000.

PREPARED STATEMENT

I will be happy to respond to any questions that you may have. If I do not know the answer, which will probably be the case, I will call on Lindy.

[The statement follows:

PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE BILL ARCHER AND SENATOR BILL ROTH

INTRODUCTION Mr. Chairman, we appreciate the opportunity to submit this written testimony to the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch of the Senate Committee on Appropriations on behalf of the fiscal year 2000 appropriation request for the Joint Committee on Taxation (the "Joint Committee").

The funding we are requesting for the Joint Committee on Taxation represents the minimum amount necessary to finance the operations of the Joint Committee for fiscal year 2000. The Joint Committee provides essential services to the Congress that are not duplicated by any other Congressional or Executive Branch office. Failure to provide the requested funding will jeopardize the ability of the Joint Committee to provide these necessary services.

We want to thank the Subcommittee for its continued recognition of the important role that the Joint Committee plays in the development of revenue legislation. We are pleased that the Subcommittee has repeatedly acknowledged the needs of the Joint Committee, and we hope that the Subcommittee will continue to support the operations of the Joint Committee for fiscal year 2000.

Key points relating to the fiscal year 2000 appropriation request are as follows: -The Joint Committee is requesting an appropriation for fiscal year 2000 of

$6,256,000, an increase over the fiscal year 1999 appropriation of $290,600. This represents a 4.87 percent increase over the fiscal year 1999 appropriation. $223,000 of this amount will be allocated to cost-of-living increases for personnel expenses and the remaining $67,600 will be allocated to proposed increases

in nonpersonnel expenses. -The Joint Committee's appropriation for fiscal year 1999 of $5,965,400 is less

than the $6,019,000 appropriated to the Joint Committee for fiscal year 1995. Despite this reduction in the Joint Committee's appropriation, increased responsibilities have been assigned to the Joint Committee under the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (the “IRS Reform Act”). The Joint Committee estimated during consideration of the IRS Reform Act that these additional responsibilities would require approximately $290,000 of additional staff resources annually. — The Joint Committee is requesting an additional 1.5 FTEs for fiscal year 2000 to hire additional staff economists. These economists will assist in the preparation of revenue estimates so that the Joint Committee is able to respond to more Member requests. In addition, the additional FTEs will enable the Joint Committee to devote more staff resources to the effort to develop macroeconomic

estimating capability. -Under section 4002(a) of the IRS Reform Act, subject to amounts being specifi

cally appropriated for this purpose, the Joint Committee is required to report at least once each Congress to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means on the overall state of the Federal tax system, together with recommendations with respect to possible simplification proposals and other matters relating to the administration of the Federal tax system. We leave to the Subcommittee's discretion whether to appropriate additional amounts to the Joint Committee for this purpose for fiscal year 2000. The Joint Committee estimates that this additional responsibility would require an addi

tional annual appropriation of $200,000 and 3 FTE's. Additional details relating to this appropriation request are provided below.

SUMMARY OF FISCAL YEAR 2000 APPROPRIATION REQUEST The following summarizes the Joint Committee's appropriation request for fiscal year 2000: Personnel Compensation

$5,656,000 Nonpersonnel Funding: Travel

12,000 Rent, communications, and utilities

33,000 Printing

............

Other services

29,000 Supplies and materials

154,000 Equipment

277,000 Total fiscal year 2000 request

6,256,000 DETAILS OF FISCAL YEAR 2000 APPROPRIATION REQUEST Personnel Expenses

Cost-of-living.-A 3.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for calendar year 1999 and a 4.4 percent cost-of-living adjustment for calendar year 2000 are requested. This request would increase the appropriation for personnel expenses for fiscal year 2000 by $223,000 over the fiscal year 1999 appropriation.

Additional FTEs.-An increase of 1.5 additional FTEs is requested for the Joint Committee for fiscal year 2000. These additional FTEs would be used to hire additional Joint Committee staff economists

to assist in the preparation of revenue estimates to respond to Member requests. These additional FTÊs would not only enable the Joint Committee to respond to more Member requests, but would also allow the Joint Committee to devote additional resources to the effort to develop the capability to incorporate macroeconomic effects in Joint Committee revenue estimates for major tax legislation.

Further, increased responsibilities have been assigned to the Joint Committee as a result of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (the "IRS Reform Act”). Under the IRS Reform Act, the Joint Committee is required to prepare a complexity analysis of all revenue provisions of widespread applicability to individuals and small businesses. In addition, the IRS Reform Act requires the Joint Committee to provide staffing and an annual report in connection with annual joint hearings of six Congressional committees on the operations of the Internal Revenue Service. These hearings will occur during calendar years 1999 through 2003. Finally, the IRS Reform Act mandated that the Joint Committee conduct a study of the present-law protections relating to disclosure of tax returns and tax return information. This study is due January 22, 2000, which will require the Joint Committee to expend personnel resources on this effort during a portion of fiscal year 2000. These additional responsibilities

will place a significant drain on the personnel resources of the Joint Committee. During consideration of the IRS Reform Act, the Joint Committee estimated that these added responsibilities would require approximately $290,000 of personnel resources per year.

No additional appropriation is requested to fund these additional FTEs. The FTES can be funded out of the requested personnel appropriation through reclassification of certain Joint Committee positions and the replacement of departing higher paid employees with entry level professional staff.

If the Subcommittee approves these additional FTE's, the Joint Committee's staffing level of 65 FTES would be less than the level of FTE's authorized for the Joint Committee in any fiscal year between 1980 and 1996. Nonpersonnel Expenses

In general.-An increase of $67,600 is requested for fiscal year 2000 relative to the fiscal year 1999 appropriation. In addition, the Joint Committee's expenses in various categories have been reallocated to reflect more accurately the actual expenses that are anticipated in these categories.

Rent, communications, and utilities.- The Joint Committee request proposes to reallocate $55,000 from this category to other categories for fiscal year 2000. The amount requested in this category for fiscal year 2000 represents an accurate estimate of the actual expenses that the Joint Committee will incur.

Other services.-It is requested that $29,000 be reallocated to this category from other categories for fiscal year 2000. The increase in this category is attributable to projected increased needs of the Joint Committee to secure consulting services in connection with the efforts to develop macroeconomic estimating capabilities. This project requires substantial resources. In addition to the work of Joint Committee staff, it is necessary for the Joint Committee to contract with macroeconomic forecasting firms to assist in the development of economic models that will permit the calculation of such macroeconomic effects.

Further, the needs of the Members for immediate responses to requests for revenue estimates and the substantial volume of requests that the Joint Committee staff receives each year places limitations on the ability of the Joint Committee staff to perform certain work necessary for the preparation of revenue estimates. To perform efficiently, the Joint Committee staff has found it necessary to contract from time to time with certain private sector organizations to do work that the Joint Committee staff does not have the time or the resources to do otherwise.

Finally, the Joint Committee may find it necessary during fiscal year 2000 to contract for consultant services in connection with Joint Committee plans to update its document tracking system software and hardware; this project is discussed more fully in the equipment category below.

Supplies and materials. It is requested that $24,000 be reallocated to this category from other categories for fiscal year 2000. The requested increase in this category is attributable to the cost of purchasing new on-line information resources for the use of the Joint Committee professional staff. It is essential that the Joint Committee staff have available the most sophisticated research tools available for tax professionals. This expense ensures that the Joint Committee staff has access to the same resources that private sector tax lawyers and economists utilize on a daily basis. The amount requested for fiscal year 2000 in this category reflects a relatively modest increase over the actual expenses for fiscal year 1998; the amount allocated to this category for fiscal year 1999 is below anticipated actual expenses.

Equipment.-An increase of $69,600 is requested for fiscal year 2000 over fiscal year 1999 for the purchases of new equipment. Anticipated expenses in this category include $60,000 for hardware and software maintenance; $50,000 for Xerox maintenance and usage costs; and $150,000 for the purchase of document scanners, CDROM writers, and other storage for expansions of the Joint Committee's document tracking system.

In 1994, the Joint Committee implemented a computerized data base to track Member requests. The Joint Committee hopes to begin upgrades to this data base system during fiscal 1999 that will lead to the purchase of computer hardware (such as scanners) and software during fiscal year 2000 to implement these upgrades. Once the upgrades are complete, the Joint Committee will have the capability of maintaining a complete electronic record of each request received from a Member of Congress and to determine at any time the status of such request.

The purchase of equipment represents the single largest item of nonpersonnel expenses for the Joint Committee. The large volume of documents that the Joint Committee is required to produce during the legislative process requires the use of sophisticated and technologically advanced computer and reproduction equipment. The Joint Committee staff finds it necessary to upgrade computer software, hardware, and reproduction machines frequently to ensure that Members receive adequate service.

REVIEW OF JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAXATION OPERATIONS DURING CALENDAR YEAR 1998

Attachments A through E provide a summary of the activity of the Joint Committee staff for calendar year 1998. This included work on Committee and Conference Reports (Statements of Managers) for the revenue-related legislation considered by the House Committee on Ways and Means and/or the Senate Committee on Finance and conference action on revenue-related legislation. A list of these committee and conference reports is contained in Attachment A. Tax legislative reports

Tax legislative reports worked on by the Joint Committee staff relating to legislation enacted in 1998 included: -Extension and modification of Highway Trust Fund tax provisions (revenue title

in H.R. 2400, Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century). - Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (H.R. 2676), which included major revisions of numerous IRS administration, taxpayer compliance and taxpayer rights provisions, revenue offsets, and technical correc

tions to recent tax legislation. -Tax and Trade Relief Extension Act of 1998 (revenue provisions of H.R. 4328,

the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act,

1999). - Internet Tax Freedom Act (S. 442 as reported by the Finance Committee, in

cluded in the conference report for H.R. 4328). The Joint Committee staff also worked on several other reports on tax legislation considered by the tax-writing committees in 1998 but not enacted. These included the following areas of tax legislation (also listed in Attachment A): -H.R. 1432 (revenue-offset provision relating to the employer deduction for sever

ance pay in the African Growth and Opportunity Act), which was passed by the

House. -H.R. 3249 (Federal Retirement Coverage Corrections Act), which was passed by

the House. -H.R. 4250 (revenue-offset provisions in the Patient Protection Act of 1998),

which was passed by the House. -H.R. 4579 (Tax Relief Act of 1998), which was passed by the House.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »