House Committee: Hold Steady on VITA Funding
Key U.S. House members have recommended maintaining VITA’s federal grant funding at a level, $12 million for the coming fiscal year, one week after their Senate counterparts suggested likewise.
As we blogged after the Senate Appropriations Committee’s action, this “mark-up” by House Appropriations Committee members ranks as a qualified victory, considering the myriad fiscal pressures with which policymakers are wrestling.
A final Fiscal Year 2013 budget is likely months from completion, and subsequent deficit-reduction measures certainly could cut that “final” budget further. But at least Congress’ two chambers are on the same page about their initial expectations for VITA funding.
During this week’s House Appropriations hearing, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda thanked committee leaders for helping protect the FY13 VITA request from cuts, and urged his colleagues to support the VITA Act legislation that he and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown are sponsoring to strengthen tax preparation services for low- and moderate-income, working households.
Indeed, just as Congress wrestles with federal budget problems, local VITA programs are struggling mightily with fiscal problems of their own – often, scrambling simply to keep their doors open at tax time. Their challenges call for more resources, certainly not fewer.
We thank Rep. Honda, Sen. Brown and still other policymakers who continue to go to bat for these critical priorities for working families who often need help most.