Bill would require drug test to claim high-dollar tax deduction

Bill would require drug test to claim high-dollar tax deduction
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A Wisconsin Democrat is pushing back against restrictions on welfare recipients with a bill that would require the wealthy to submit to a drug test before claiming high-dollar tax deductions. 

Rep. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MoorePentagon 'aware' of reports Wisconsin military base's struggle to feed, heat Afghan refugees Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality MORE rolled out the legislation, the Top 1% Accountability Act, on Wednesday.

Several states, including Wisconsin, require drug tests for at least some recipients of benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

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And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) also expanded such tests to some recipients of unemployment benefits and recently sued the federal government in an effort to drug test recipients of food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Those in favor of such policies argue that drug testing will save money and make recipients more responsible. A Think Progress study found the cost of administering such tests outstrips potential savings from catching violators.

Moore described such laws as unfair persecution of the poor.

In an interview with The Guardian, Moore said she is “sick and tired, and sick and tired of being sick and tired, of the criminalization of poverty.”

“We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off SNAP," she said. "But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.” 

Under Moore’s bill, those filing more than $150,000 in itemized tax deductions would have to submit proof of a clean drug test within three months of the tax-filing date. Those who fail or refuse to do a test would not be eligible for itemized deductions and would have to use the standard deduction, which for most single people is $6,300.

Higher earners are more likely to itemize deductions, such as for mortgage interest and charitable contributions to reduce their taxable income further than the standard deduction allows.

Moore said Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE, also of Wisconsin, inspired her to introduce the bill with his unveiling of the House GOP’s blueprint to fight poverty at a drug treatment center last week, which she told The Guardian was the "last straw." 

“As a strong advocate for social programs aimed at combating poverty, it deeply offends me that there is such a deep stigma surrounding those who depend on government benefits, especially as a former welfare recipient," Moore said in a Thursday statement. "Sadly, Republicans across the country continue to implement discriminatory policies that criminalize the less fortunate and perpetuate false narratives about the most vulnerable among us. These laws serve only one purpose: stoking the most extreme sentiments and misguided notions of the conservative movement."