Boehner Answers Community's Questions
Since 1991, I've been writing a column that's published regularly throughout the Eighth Congressional District. These columns aim to provide you an "insider's look" at what's going on in Washington the "story behind the story," if you will. Over the years, I've received positive feedback on these columns, and I remain grateful not only for your interest in what I write - but more importantly your interest in the job I do on your behalf in Congress.
With that in mind, I'm adding a new "twist" to these columns. Beginning today, I will reserve one of my columns each month to answer a handful of your questions directly. Today, I've selected a few commonly-asked questions that my office has received in recent weeks. But in the future, you can submit your own questions to me at AskBoehner@mail.house.gov. This mailbox has been established specifically to receive your questions to be answered in future columns. Questions not intended for publication should be sent to me via regular mail or to my official congressional e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are a few example questions similar to those I'll be eager to answer in future columns:
"What is your reaction to President Bush's recent illegal immigrant/temporary worker proposal?"
I have several concerns about President Bush's proposal. America has long-standing immigration laws, and when those laws are not consistently enforced, respect for the law as a whole is diminished. America has been and will continue to be a land built on the brains and backs of immigrants. What does it say to those immigrants who work to enter America legally in the hopes of seeking a better life when another person breaks the law by entering illegally, then is told he may stay? Despite my opposition, I do note that our immigration laws need modernization, and the President should be commended for entering the debate.
"Is it true that Members of Congress don't pay into Social Security but still receive a hefty pension?"
This is a hoax that has circulated on the Internet for years. Here's the truth: Since 1986, Members of Congress have participated in a retirement plan established for all federal employees. In fact, it's very similar to pension plans offered by many companies to their employees. I pay into Social Security, and I'm a participant in this system. It consists of three elements: (1) Social Security; (2) a traditional pension payment based on years of service and the three highest consecutive years of pay; and (3) a savings plan matched with a small percentage of employer contributions - similar to 401(k) plans offered in the private sector.
"Who can I contact with questions as we approach the tax return filing deadline?"
You may call the I.R.S. toll-free at 1-800-829-1040, visit the official I.R.S. website at www.irs.gov, or stop by a local I.R.S. office. For residents of the Eighth District, your closest I.R.S. offices are located in Dayton, at 200 West Second Street, and at a new office that will open in West Chester on March 2nd, at 9075 Union Centre Boulevard. This new, larger West Chester office replaces the Tri-County/Fairfield I.R.S. office.
"Is it true that if I use the I.R.S. 'Free File Electronic' program to file my income tax returns, I will be 'flagged' by the I.R.S., with my personal information saved by the agency?"
Not at all. The Taxpayer Advocate Service, a citizen watchdog service created by Congress to protect taxpayer rights, has informed me that the I.R.S. will not be flagging returns through the free filing program this year because such a system may run afoul of public disclosure laws.
These four questions comprise just a small sample of the more popular questions I have received over the past several weeks. Now, it's your turn to ask me questions of your own. E-mail your question - along with your first name and hometown - to me at AskBoehner@mail.house.gov, and I will select a handful of them to answer in this column next month. I look forward to hearing from you.