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Want to save the taxpayers from having to shell out more than they need? Just eliminate the fraud.
But, of course, that means touching the third rail: entitlements.
That's where the problems exist, however. The Governor isn't shying away. From his 2012 Q4 report:
A reoccurring theme from suggestions received both to the Commission and the Task Force relate to public assistance fraud. Governor Walker has made great strides to deal with this issue. For example, he created the state Office of Inspector General (OIG) within the Department of Health Services (DHS). The OIG is showing results that have been highlighted by the Task Force in previous reports. The OIG is making it harder for individuals and providers to commit public assistance fraud.
In its agency budget request, the Department of Revenue (DOR) is recommending a similar approach. They would like expanded access to data from other agencies to crack down on fraud. Simply put, allowing the right hand of state government to know what the left hand is doing. DOR suggests data from five other state agencies could assist them in identifying tax filers committing fraud against the state, non-filers and under-reporters of income. These include the Department of Children and Families, Employee Trust Funds (ETF), DHS, Department of Transportation, and Department of Workforce Development. In some cases agencies are cooperating through data sharing today. However, in others statutory changes are needed to clearly allow this cooperation to occur.
By getting data that is currently unavailable, DOR believes it could better identify fraudulent W2 statements, stolen social security numbers on tax forms, and false tax credit claims. DOR identified over Help Reduce Government Waste, Fraud, and Abuse at: bestpractices.wi.gov 10 $9 million in fraudulent homestead and earned income credits in FY12. Based on federal fraud estimates, DOR projects $40 to $65 million in fraudulent income tax returns and credit claims received. Better data will help better detect, prevent, and collect on these fraudulent claims.
Lefties will complain that you can't possibly restrict access because then people who are eligible will not be able to get what they deserve. As if somehow Government assistance is a right guaranteed by God.
But when you have this amount of fraud, something must be done to protect the people and their interests.