August 09, 2005
Father John moves on

He knew it was coming, and was fortunately able to make other arrangements: Father John has left the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (which is currently cutting 2900 jobs) to go work for the Office of the Attorney General. I join in his skepticism that the new privatized system will be any cheaper or more efficient than what it is replacing, but for the sake of the people who will be most directly affected, I hope we're both wrong. Good luck with the new gig, Father John, and I hope you'll still have some insider dirt to pass along.

Oh, and by the way: Accenture, the outsourcer handling this contract for the state of Texas, got some bad legislative news recently.

US lawmakers rejected a lobbying effort by Accenture Ltd., the world’s second-largest consulting firm, to ensure that it obtained an exemption from tax penalties on companies that incorporate in havens such as Bermuda. A legislative package of so-called technical tax corrections introduced by the leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees and endorsed by the Treasury Department omits the exemption Bermuda-based Accenture had sought.

“It’s just not in there,” Christin Baker, the spokeswoman for the Ways and Means Committee said when asked why it was omitted.

House Democrats had objected to the change to benefit Accenture.

A provision in last year’s $145 billion corporate tax bill designated companies that move to Bermuda and other tax havens as US-based for tax purposes, denying them tax breaks. The law exempts companies that completed a move prior to March 4, 2003.

The omission of the change Accenture sought may be a setback for the company, which said in public filings it is concerned the Internal Revenue Service may not recognise its overseas incorporation in the same way the tax agency does for Tyco International Ltd. and Ingersoll-Rand Ltd., which also are based in Bermuda. Accenture spokeswoman Roxanne Taylor didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

In regulatory filings, Accenture said it didn’t believe it was subject to the provision maintaining US corporate taxes on companies that move to tax havens.

“However, we are not able to predict with certainty whether the US Internal Revenue Service will challenge our interpretation of the legislation,” the company said.

“Nor are we able to predict with certainty the impact of regulations or other interpretations that might be issued related to this legislation. It is possible that certain interpretations could materially increase our tax burden.”

My heart bleeds for you, fellas. You can pay your fair share just like the rest of us who don't have access to lobbyists do.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 09, 2005 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack

I just hope Accenture doesn't run short on window envelopes. Gawd help us Texans if that sort of crisis befalls us again.

Posted by: kevin whited on August 9, 2005 11:09 PM

You can laugh about the window envelopes all you want, but if you did a job where you sent out somewhere between 30 and 100 pieces of mail a day, didn't have time to do all the work you needed to do, and then had to take the time to stick address labels on those envelopes and write your mail code on them, when it would be less expensive to the state to have provided pre-printed envelopes rather than have each office buy blank ones from office depot, you wouldn't think it was so funny. That was only one small example of where things have been headed. I cited it because it was something so easily fixed, but something that has become a persistant problem because the system is breaking down.

The bigger example is that we have half the staff we used to have, and more work to do. Staff all across the board are falling behind, which means people are doing without benefits for longer periods of time, and for no good reason.

It takes at least a year to train a worker to do this job, and write now they are being replaced by temps with 3 weeks training... who can only function at about 20 to 25% of the level of the people that they are replacing.

Keep laughing, but when someone you know wants medicaid, and they have to wait 5 months for an answer (as happened in Colorado), you may not think it is so funny then.

Most people complain about these benefits... until they need them, or someone they know needs them, and then they expect the system to work, just like the light coming on when you open your freezer door. Well, if you need the light to come on in the next couple of years in Texas, don't count on it.

Posted by: Fr. John Whiteford on August 10, 2005 7:53 AM