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Support the Taxpayer Receipt Act!
An Open Letter to the United States Congress

May 3, 2011

An Open Letter to the United States Congress:
Support the Taxpayer Receipt Act!


Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to support legislative efforts to provide taxpayers with a receipt showing how their federal income tax is being spent. The “Taxpayer Receipt Act,” introduced as S. 437 by Senator Nelson (D-FL) and Senator Brown (R-MA) and as H.R. 1527 by Representative Quigley (D-IL) would provide taxpayers with an invaluable educational tool that will allow them to take their rightful place at the forefront of the conversation over how to deal with the budgetary challenges facing our nation.

In recent years, successive Congresses and Presidents have expanded federal programs at an alarming pace, to a point where federal expenditures have reached record postwar levels. An aging population and a fiscally dysfunctional entitlement system will only worsen the problem. As our government’s debt has grown, so too has taxpayer skepticism about how their money is being spent. A recent Pew Research poll found that just 29 percent of Americans believe they can trust Washington to do what is right always or most of the time. As Congress begins the debate over how best to deal with our $1.6 trillion deficit and $14.3 trillion debt, providing taxpayers with an honest and accurate picture of the problems we face will be imperative to rebuilding that trust.

The “Taxpayer Receipt Act” provides a welcome dose of transparency by offering taxpayers a glimpse into where their money is going, as well as clearly showing how much the federal government is borrowing in their name. This legislation would provide a written or electronic receipt from the Internal Revenue Service that is broken down into key categories such as Medicare, Social Security, national defense, net interest on the federal debt, education and federal employee benefits. Given that entitlement reform will be a necessary part of any successful long term spending reduction package, NTU would have like to seen Medicaid, one of the chief drivers of our deficit, receive its own category rather than be lumped in under the umbrella title “other federal health programs.”

That said, your bill is full of positives for taxpayers. Chief among them is the inclusion of separate line items detailing the amount of debt and additional borrowing for every taxpayer in the United States. This allows the receipt to highlight our drastically unbalanced budget that obscures the true cost of our federal government from the taxpayer. In so doing, this bill uncovers the very real threat that today’s deficits pose to future generations.

For these reasons, NTU applauds the introduction of the “Taxpayer Receipt Act” and we encourage all Members of Congress to work toward passage of H.R. 1527 and S. 437.



Brandon Greife
Federal Government Affairs Manager