Letter to the Editor

Ellsworth committed to working with new administration

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dear Editor,

Earlier this week, millions of Americans in Washington and across the country commemorated the peaceful transition of power to a new President. Regardless of our political views, each of us wants to see our leaders succeed in making government work better.

Although there will be issues I disagree with President Obama about, I am committed to working with him and members from both sides of the aisle to find common sense solutions to the challenges we face.

A good place to start is ensuring that government contractors pay their fair share of taxes. Currently, thousands of businesses who receive government contracts are cheating on their taxes. The problem is more widespread than you might think. A March 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found tax debts totaling $1.4 billion were owed to the federal government by over 3,800 contractors.

Even in these tough economic times, Hoosiers play by the rules and pay their taxes. I don't think it is too much to ask companies that receive millions, sometimes billions, in taxpayer dollars to do the same.

So I am teaming up with Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri to introduce legislation prohibiting government contracts from being awarded to companies who fail to pay their taxes. The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act would withhold large federal contracts from businesses and organizations that fail to file tax returns and are delinquent on their taxes.

As a Senator, President Obama introduced this legislation during the last Congress, and I have encouraged his administration to make this issue a priority going forward.

The Contracting and Tax Accountability Act is a practical and cost-effective way to ensure all companies compete on an equal playing field and our tax dollars are being used wisely.

And together, with the support of our new President, we will restore some needed accountability to the contracting process and protect the taxpayers.


Brad Ellsworth