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Report calls for state to hire more auditors, tax collectors

A new report says the state government can help solve its own budget problems by hiring more people to collect unpaid taxes.

The Institute for Wisconsin's Future says the state would get an extra $175 million over the next two years by hiring 155 new auditors and tax collection agents.

To do that, though, the Revenue Department would have to be exempt from Gov. Jim Doyle's recent order not to fill bureaucratic job vacancies unless it's absolutely necessary.

The institute says the state's tax collection efforts are being eroded by the failure to replace tax agents. It cites a large increase in uncollected taxes over the last seven years.

The Revenue Department says about 13 percent of its authorized jobs were vacant as of Wednesday.

The agency did not comment on the institute's report. Senate President Fred Risser says he'll try to authorize more tax collectors and auditors.

The Madison Democrat says it would not only bring in more revenue but the system would be fairer because more tax evaders would be caught.