During this tax filing season, let’s not forget the dedicated federal employees at the Internal Revenue Service who are on duty every day to help taxpayers with their returns and track down scofflaws.

In my role as president of Chapter 60 of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), I see firsthand, every day, IRS employees persevere even while Congress considers slashing their agency’s budget, cutting their pay, eliminating their workplace rights and threatening their jobs.

Since 2010, the IRS budget has been reduced by $1 billion and the agency has lost 17,000 full-time positions. Further cuts in 2018 will weaken our ability to serve taxpayers, especially those who rely on our free assistance -- by phone or in person -- to file their tax returns. It’s also counterproductive to hamstring the very agency that collects 93 percent of the revenue that keeps our country running. Knowing there is about $406 billion in taxes owed that are not collected, new Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it best: “We add people, we add money.”

Spending more on the military does not have to be paid for by gutting domestic agencies. The members of NTEU Chapter 60 who work for the IRS stand ready to fulfill our mission to provide timely aid to tax filers, prevent fraud and identify theft, and help the nation pay its bills.

Federal employees should be thanked for their service by our elected officials and those in Congress should stop trying to solve the nation's budget problems on their backs.

John T. Kelshaw
President, NTEU Chapter 60
Beachwood, NJ