Washington, DC – On Thursday, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany, Jr. M.D. (R-LA) demanded that the Department of Treasury (Treasury) release an Urban Institute study on the Treasury’s debit card pilot program. The program was intended to encourage taxpayers to receive their tax refunds on pre-paid debit cards but was suspended after only 2,000 of the 808,000 taxpayers contacted elected to participate. Early last year, Treasury hired the Urban Institute to conduct a study of the pilot program, which was completed last year but never made public. The Chairmen said:
“Treasury needs to come clean about this pilot program. For an Administration that claimed they will be the most transparent ever, this is just another example of them trying to hide the ball. Taxpayers paid for this study, and they have every right to know, good or bad, what that study reveals about this program.”
- The program was estimated to cost $1.5 million, meaning taxpayers paid $750 for each pilot program participant.
- In January of 2011, Camp and Boustany wrote to Treasury for information related to the pilot program, including how recipients of the pilot program were chosen, a copy of the program materials and an explanation of all of the fees and charges that would be incurred by some of taxpayers enrolled in the pilot program.
- Despite repeated requests for a copy of the Urban Institute report, the Department of Treasury has refused to release it.
The full letter can be read here.