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There are many ways one could feel about the warning Standard and Poor’s issued to the Alaska Legislature last week, stating that the state’s credit rating might drop if Alaska politicians can’t reach a deal on budget reforms.

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May is an extraordinary month in Ketchikan. We transform overnight from a quiet town in April to become host to thousands of visitors each day by mid-May. Local waters see commercial troll fishermen take advantage of spring fishery opportunities while the commercial net fleets begin preparing for their season. Sport anglers are readying their gear for the May 28 start of the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

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5/3/2014
IRS — clean house

It's the obvious result.

More than 2,800 IRS employees who had been disciplined for conduct issues received more than $2.8 million in bonuses and more than 27,000 hours in time off between late 2010 and the end of 2012.

Some of the issues related to not paying their taxes, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

More than 1,100 employees who had issues with paying their taxes received in excess of $1 million in bonuses and time off.

After the report was published, two U.S. senators immediately introduced legislation to prevent federal employees from receiving bonuses if they don't pay their taxes or misbehave professionally.

Hats off to Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, and Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. This is legislation every senator and House member, regardless of party affiliation, should endorse.

Ayotte and McCaskill make two points. First, it is asinine to make such awards following actions that could get employees fired or sent to jail. Second, the payments to such employees don't inspire confidence in the financial decisions of the federal government.

The Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act would ban such bonuses and require such employees to repay them.

Since the report, the IRS is considering an agency-wide policy that would address the bonus and time-off issue.

The IRS also should replace the employees who failed to follow the law in regard to paying taxes. If anyone should know, and everyone should, that it's required to pay taxes, it should be IRS employees.

The IRS needs to clean house; it can't do that with IRS employees who have dirty hands.

At least two senators and most of the nation sees that.

The bill to end practices that violate common sense should be adopted immediately.