Johnson helps pass bill that protects Americans from IRS

LISBON – U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson joined with the majority in passing a bill last week that delays implementation of new IRS regulations drafted in response to the controversy over some conservative groups being subjected to extra scrutiny in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.

Johnson, R-Marietta, voted in favor of the bill, which would delay for one year proposed new rules that would apply to quasi-political groups seeking tax-exempt status. The congressman who introduced the bill said the new rules are an attempt to “legalize and institutionalize targeting” of conservative groups by the IRS.

Johnson, in a news release, said the delay is to “protect the American people from the IRS specifically targeting them based on their political beliefs. This common-sense legislation would simply require the IRS to use the same standards for processing applications for tax-exempt 501 (c) (4) organizations that it used before the IRS began targeting conservative groups for surveillance. No American should ever be targeted or harassed for their personal political beliefs. I urge the Senate to take immediate action and pass this important legislation.”

In related news, Johnson also issued a news release saying he voted for the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act that passed the House. He said many of his constituents have complained their flood insurance premiums have increased dramatically, pushing some to the brink of defaulting on their mortgage or closing their small business.

“The legislation protects the solvency of the flood insurance program and protects homeowners and business owners from unreasonable rate increases. If it were up to the House we would privatize flood insurance, just like car insurance or homeowners insurance, and get the government out of the market. However, the goal will take time. Meanwhile, this legislation provides relief to those hit hardest by FEMA’s flawed implementation of flood insurance reform,” he said.

According to the Associated Press, the government-funded flood insurance program has a $24 billion deficit, mostly from claims paid to cover losses resulting from superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The 2012 reform law required flood-zone maps be updated, which are used to determine insurance premiums.