Bartlett wants to shift the deadline for paying income taxes to Election Day

January 15, 1995|By Capital News Service

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Roscoe Bartlett thinks Americans will be more likely to vote if their tax bills are a fresh memory -- so he's proposing to make income taxes due on Election Day in November.

"I suspect many people forget how angry they were" when they '' paid their tax bills, said Mr. Bartlett, a Republican from Frederick who represents Carroll and Western Maryland. About seven months separate the April 15 deadline for filing tax returns and the general election, the second Tuesday of November.

Mr. Bartlett's bill would establish a one-year commission -- appointed jointly by Congress and the president -- to study the feasibility of making Election Day the income tax deadline.

"I think they'll be much more cognizant with the philosophy of the people they're voting for," Mr. Bartlett said of voters.

Almost 115 million income tax returns were filed by individuals and couples in 1992, he estimated.

Ken Hubenak, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, said April 15 has been the deadline for filing income tax returns since 1955. Before then, March 15 was the tax deadline.

Mr. Hubenak declined to comment on the proposal.

Mr. Bartlett also has introduced a bill outlining a process for selecting Department of Energy facilities for closure. The Energy Department is one of several government agencies targeted for reductions by the Republicans.

"I just think we need to have a depoliticized look at what we need and what we don't need now," Mr. Bartlett said. The Energy Department facilities scattered around the country are "almost like our military bases. It's very difficult to close these things because almost every one of them is in somebody's district," he said.

The congressman this month also reintroduced two bills that failed in the last session. They will have a better chance of passing now that the Republicans control Congress, he said.

One calls for repeal of the ban on 19 assault weapons, which passed in 1994 when the Democrats held a majority in Congress. Mr. Bartlett's bill also calls for a federal law to protect gun owners from prosecution if they use firearms to defend themselves, their families or their homes.

Mr. Bartlett's other reintroduced bill covers the use of money left over each year from representatives' allowances -- money they receive from the House to cover expenses such as clerk salaries and postage. The bill proposes putting all unspent allowance money toward reducing the national debt.

Currently, any allowance money that representatives have at the end of the year gets deposited into the "speaker's slush fund" and can be spent by the House speaker. Last year, Mr. Bartlett turned over about $100,000 in unspent allowance to the fund, said Cheri Jacobus, his press secretary.

About 40 representatives have signed onto the firearms and unspent allowances bills as co-sponsors, the congressman said.

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