If states can drug test low-income residents seeking welfare assistance, why can’t they do the same for members of the one percent asking for hefty federal tax deductions?
So goes the thinking of Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who spoke to the Guardian on Wednesday about her new Top 1% Accountability Act. The bill would force taxpayers reporting itemized deductions of over $150,000 to either submit a clear drug test to the IRS or accept the much lower standard deduction when filing their tax returns.
“We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off SNAP,” Moore told the Guardian, referring to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. “But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.”
The Milwaukee congresswoman’s bill comes as a rebuke to Republican lawmakers and her state’s governor, Scott Walker. A state law that went into effect in December forces applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to answer questions about their drug use, and Walker is suing the federal government for the right to drug test Wisconsin residents applying for SNAP benefits.
Other officials like Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) have pushed for similar measures in their states.
Moore told the Guardian she was “sick and tired, and sick and tired of being sick and tired, of the criminalization of poverty.”