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IRS Holds Hearing on Bush-Exit Proposal That Would Limit Transparency on Projects Receiving Tax-Free Financing

Advocates Urge IRS and Obama Administration to Reject Changes

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the waning days of the Bush Administration, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed changes that would make it more difficult for community groups, unions and watchdog groups to understand and comment upon tax-exempt bonds proposed for economic development projects. The IRS will hold a hearing on the proposal this Monday, January 26th at 10:00 a.m. at the IRS auditorium, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW.

"Changes to a public hearing process, particularly when public monies are at stake, should increase not limit access to information and debate. We urge the IRS to embrace the Obama Administration's promise of a more accountable and transparent government and reject the proposed changes," said Greg LeRoy, Executive Director of Good Jobs First, a non-profit research center based in Washington, DC.

Under the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) of 1982, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986, local government agencies are required to hold public hearings before issuing federally tax-exempt bonds for private projects like affordable housing, hospitals and private prisons and in some cases, commercial projects. In New York City, advocates used TEFRA to facilitate debate around the allocation of $8 billion in post-9/11 Liberty Bonds.

Lead by Good Jobs First, a diverse group of signatories submitted comments to the IRS urging the agency move forward with a more transparent program and reject the current proposal.

The IRS' proposal would decrease the time the public has to review requests from two weeks to one, allow localities to proceed with no hearing if no one has made a "timely request" to participate and would greatly limit financial and logistical details made available about projects. More information about how to improve TEFRA and a list of the two dozen groups that signed a letter urging the IRS not to move forward with its proposal is available at http://www.goodjobsny.org/IRS_Transparency.htm.

SOURCE Good Jobs First

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