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Harkin Bill Lets Taxpayers Tell Congress Where Federal Dollars Should be Spent

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has introduced legislation that allows taxpayers to systematically tell Congress their federal spending priorities. The bill calls for a voluntary survey to be made a part of the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ tax forms, and will include space for taxpayers to indicate what they believe are appropriate allocations of funds to be spent in various government functions. The bill also requires the tax forms to provide taxpayers with information regarding current levels of federal spending in various categories of spending.

"Taxpayers should have an increased opportunity to voice their budget priorities," said Harkin. "This legislation does that and also provides taxpayers with details about how federal funds are now being spent. This is a valuable way to increase public input in the Congressional budget process."

The Accountability to Choices of Taxpayers in Our Nation's Budget Priorities (ACTION) Budget Priorities Act will:

* Provide a 14 point breakout by category according to the Budget Act (Social Security and other federal retirement, Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs, education and job training, social services, income security including nutrition, defense, veterans, international affairs, infrastructure and economic development, energy, environment, science, agriculture, justice and general government, and interest on the publically held debt) of the federal budget with the sum and percent spent in each area.
* Asks taxpayers to provide the percent they believe should be spent per category of the next budget.

The measure then calls on the Treasury Department to aggregate the results of the survey and provide that information to Congress.

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