President Trump released his much-anticipated 2018 budget blueprint, also known as a “skinny” budget, on March 16. The budget blueprint calls for a reduction in IRS funding by $239 million for the next fiscal year (FY) 2017-2018, including an overall funding reduction of $519 million, or 4.1 percent decrease, for the Treasury from current levels. “The Budget will bring renewed discipline to the Department by focusing resources on collecting revenue, managing the Nation’s debt, protecting the financial system from threats, and combating financial crime and terrorism financing,” the blueprint states.
According to the budget blueprint, the proposed reduction of the IRS budget by $239 million would be made in conjunction with savings accrued from diverting resources from “antiquated operations.” The blueprint states that the budget proposal preserves key operations of the IRS, including combating fraud and identity theft, as well as the enforcement of tax laws.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had earlier voiced his concerns over the IRS’s limited resources and staffing. Mnuchin testified before the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) that an agency with such large responsibilities should not be dwindling (TAXDAY, 2017/01/20, C.2). “I can assure you Trump understands the concept that when we add people [to the IRS], we make money,” ” Mnuchin said.
However, in a March 16 statement issued after the release of the budget proposal, Mnuchin said the budget proposal focuses on the Treasury’s “core missions.” He noted that it “will ensure that we have the resources we need to enforce the nation’s tax laws, while investing in cybersecurity and prioritizing resources on initiatives that promote technology, efficiency and modernization across the agency.”
Meanwhile, Democrats are weighing in on Trump’s budget blueprint. “It throws billions of dollars at defense, while ransacking America’s investment in jobs, education, innovation, clean energy, and life-saving medical research,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a March 16 news conference. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., echoed that criticism.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney said on March 16 that Trump’s full budget will be released in May. “We’re doing the budget in phases this year, which is not unusual during a transition year. This is just the discretionary spending part of the budget. There will be a fuller budget in May and that will include things like tax policy…,” he added
By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff
America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again