Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said travel and meetings are critical tools for efficient and effective government in a statement issued in response to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's report on travel to a 2010 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conference. The IRS is now the subject of a Congressional probe of its performance.
"The IG report describes instances of inappropriate and wasteful spending on the part of IRS employees, who clearly went too far beyond the rules put in place to protect taxpayer dollars. Make no mistake – this behavior is both appalling and damaging. Yet it is incumbent on our leaders to not lose sight of the value that responsible travel and face-to-face meetings create for constituents. It is often the most efficient and effective way for government professionals to accomplish the requirements of their roles," Dow said.
"Our experience in the private sector suggests that cutbacks on business travel and meetings directly impact company performance. According to a study conducted last year by Oxford Economics, of those employees whose companies reduced business travel spending since 2007, only four percent stated that these cutbacks helped company performance while 57 percent believe that reductions in business travel hurt their companies' performance."
"When conducted responsibly, government conferences, meetings and travel deliver important services to businesses and individual taxpayers – including safety inspections, disaster relief assistance, corporate training on taxes and government regulations, services for the military and more," Dow said.
"While Congress and the IG should do all they can to root out wasteful spending, let's not hamstring the effectiveness of federal agencies in the process. We urge all parties to exercise caution in responding to today's IG report," Dow said.