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What is the Taxpayers Right to Know Act?

Updated on July 29, 2013

The taxpayer’s right to know act H.R. 1423 which stands for House resolution 1423 is an important piece of legislation which was generated in the House on April 19, 2013. The basic requirement of this legislation is to provide annual reports disclosing the cost and performance of Government programs and areas of duplication among them along with other purposes.

The cost of government must be monitored and reviewed whether it is required by legislation or not. It is part of typical management requirements and the requirement applies to all levels within the federal government. The concern with regards to this legislation is why it is needed. This requirement should already be in place within all departments and agencies. The difference may be the requirement to report the results but that should also be a requirement in reviewing government appropriation requests for each department and agency.

Some of the specifics of the legislation include such things as identifying and describing every program administered by the agency, determining the administrative costs, the expenditures for the services and an estimated number of clients served by the program along with beneficiaries who received assistance under the program. There is also a need for any duplication to be identified within programs administered by an agency.

Duplication of government services is a big cost in these economic times and the latest GAO reports identified a number of duplicative efforts not only within specific agencies but across agencies. Duplication of efforts and programs is a waste of taxpayer money. Government needs to become more efficient in managing the taxpayer funds it receives for running the government. In addition as stipulated by the title of this legislation taxpayers have a right to know the costs of individual programs and what it takes to administer them. This includes the number of employees required both full and part time.

Another aspect which is associated with this legislation is to terminate lower priority, outdated and unnecessary programs and initiatives. The last sentence is one which has a direct impact on the programs and initiatives which are funded each fiscal year. Another requirement if this legislation becomes law is for the Office of Management and Budget by February of each year to publish on their official website the identity duplicative programs, make recommendations to consolidate programs and eliminate waste and inefficiency.

The principle purpose of this legislation is to provide information to the taxpayer or at least the availability of the information to the taxpayer. Currently this legislation has been referred to the committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The first step for any new legislation is for it to be referred to a committee or committees associated with the topic and content. At the present time there are no co-sponsors identified but it is hoped that more will join this effort. With the thousands and I mean thousands of legislative actions flowing through Congress each year it is hoped that legislative proposals which provide information to taxpayers will reach the full House and Senate for a vote. It not only our right but it is something we should expect from our elected officials..

While James Langford is representing the state of Oklahoma his effort with regards to taxpayer rights should be commended. He is not only serving Oklahoma but the country in generating this legislation. All legislative actions should keep the taxpayers in mind and whether they would feel the legislation has a viable and justifiable purpose. The initiation of this legislation it is hoped marks a change in the methodology of how Congress operates. Granted this is only one piece of legislation but it is hoped there are others like James Langford who puts country above party in honoring the rights of taxpayers. James Langford should be commended on initiating this legislative action.


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