Social security number stolen? Tired of illegal aliens? Deadbeat dads or moms running around not paying their support? Anyone you know working “off the books” in a shadow economy? I’ll outline the problem and solution for this one. If you like it, we can tweak it together and get it before the Texas legislature this next go-round for the 2015 session. This is going to get a little deep to follow but hang in there. If we’re going to complain about problems we need to come up with ways to fix them.
Bottom Line up front.
New Law: Mandatory reporting to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) of employment in Texas on the FIRST day of employment for all W2 and 1099 employees.
First off, we’re Americans and Texans, and this is a country AND state that has laws. People that break these laws hurt all of us. If you’re an employer who is hiring illegals, OR is employing someone improperly, I’ve got no sympathy for you. If you’re a deadbeat parent, you’re scum and I want to find you faster. If you’re working off the books to hide income for the end purpose of not disrupting your welfare check, I’m mad as hell and want you’re behavior to change.
Problem: Deadbeat parents that aren’t paying child support. It’s part of the job of the Attorney General to pursue deadbeat parents – once found, the AG can garnish wages to collect child support. The problem is finding the parent, or finding their hidden source of income. The spouse often has to do all the legwork to find where the jerk is employed to give that information to the AG. W-2 employees are easy as they show up on the TWC reports. Those individuals are legally documented in the Texas Workforce Commission, and must be reported within 90 days of employment to the TWC. We know where they are working, and how much they are being paid. Unfortunately, people working “off the books” for cash are nearly impossible to find and are not in the TWC system. People working as a “1099” employee are also not in the TWC system and 1099 information may not get back to the state for over a year from the IRS (oh and the IRS just starts another rant).
Solution: Require that all employees are reported on the first day of employment to the Texas Workforce Commission. This includes W-2 employees as well as 1099 Contract Labor employees. Under penalty of a $500 a day fine for not reporting employees, businesses will be responsible for this part of the system. Get on board and be patriotic.
1) Deadbeat dads and moms, when they are working “off the books” will show up as employed, who they are working for, how much they’re getting paid, and we’ll know on DAY ONE where they are in Texas. I don’t want to pay for your kid’s support. Likewise, if a dad is struggling to support the kids, we can see how the mom is earning a living too. Just by finding these deadbeat parents, and collecting child support from them promptly, there will be THOUSANDS of grateful custodial parents that are getting their child support payments on time. Just a side note, I know too many custodial parents that aren’t just a few months behind receiving child support, they are $30,000 behind.
2) Illegally employed folks, and yes illegals without a social security number shouldn’t be employed. Illegals with a stolen social security number will be discovered.
3) Illegal employment also means employing someone on a 1099 basis when they should be an hourly employee (W-2). This skirts Texas law, and allows employers to pay someone without paying for Unemployment to TWC — defrauding our beloved State!
This applies to businesses, as well as “contractors” whom you’ve hired to repair your roof, fix your fences, repair your roads. Ranches are notorious for hiring employees and paying them by 1099. If the employee has one employer, and he’s working set hours, he’s not contract labor. The employer is breaking the law and defrauding Texas.
4) Social Security Number fraud. If a SSN has been stolen or pilfered and is being used for employment purposes, this “first day reporting” will discover where that SSN is being used. If it shows up in Houston, Dallas, El Paso, and McAllen all on the same day, there’s a lot of fraud and illegal employment happening. This can help stop identity theft. If you truly are a 1099 Contract Labor person, it’s likely you could have multiple 1099 employment reportings – not a problem, that’s legal. That’s less likely to be flagged if the employment occurs on different periods. However, if that same SSN/1099 reporting shows up for multiple cities, someone’s in trouble, and I don’t want to wait on the federal government to act.
E-Verify is the federal answer to illegal employment. I’ve looked at that system and it catches the honest folks well enough, but it also depends on the federal government more than I like. If you’re illegally here, but are using any number of forged documents, you would still pass E-Verify. Yes, I want employers to report all employment on the first day to the TWC. At that point the employer is off the hook if someone gets past our TWC screening. I would NOT hold employers responsible for doing an E-Verify check on the individual, all they have to do is log in the information to TWC and let the individual go to work immediately. TWC will do the rest. If there’s an employment issue that needs to be addressed, the employer is off the hook at that time. If you’re just a regular citizen and hiring a company to perform services for you (as in fencework or roofing), if that job does not require the issuance of a 1099, then you do not have to contact TWC. You CAN do it, and it would help a great deal in the cause, but realize that individual working for you may be a deadbeat not paying his child support.
Logistically, I see us entering information to the TWC by any of three means.
1) Old school method. The employer could phone the information in to TWC. You give your TWC account number, followed by the SSN of the individual you’re hiring that day. Leave it on a recorder and TWC will input in the system in under a minute if you’re an established employer already in the system.
2) Log in to the TWC website just like you do quarterly reporting and enter the name and ssn of the individual being hired. It doesn’t matter if they are a W-2 employee or a 1099. The 1099 employees won’t be paying taxes but we need to know who they are.
3) Use your smart phone. We can develop a TWC app for the phone, use a credit card reader (“Square” is one brand), and swipe the employee’s driver’s license, or Texas ID card, or even just entering the information from a passport or green card. They HAVE to have identification to work.
Bonus thought: If you’re not opposed to this, I’d like the employer to be able to log in to TWC, enter a SSN, and actually see a Texas ID picture for verification. It only takes sharing of information from your legal driver’s license photo with the TWC. Texas Department of Public Safety would have to share that information with TWC.
Back to logistics. Once entered, TWC now has employment data for everyone in Texas, including 1099 employees. Coordinating with the Texas Attorney General’s office, deadbeat dads/moms would be found on that first day of employment. Stolen social security numbers being used in multiple Texas cities would be discovered promptly and we’d have some criminals to round up. If you’re illegally here, you might be unable to find work. If the federal government isn’t going to deport you, that doesn’t mean you get to work in Texas. If you read my post on the TWIN system, you’ll see that I have shown a method to have illegals working in Texas without the federal government. I’m compassionate and realize there are lots of illegals here that are an integral part of our economy. If you’re twenty years old and have only been here one week… I’m not as compassionate. If you’ve been here 20 years, yes I’ll find a way to get you legal. Don’t expect to vote, though.
So there’s my Texas Solution. I’ve found the deadbeat parents and their sources of income. It’ll make the custodial parents happier to have money coming in. I’ve set up a method to stop illegal/improper employment of 1099 employees and the fraud against Texas. I’ve taken steps to help curb identity theft. This all can happen with only a little law change, that all employment MUST be reported on day one of employment to the TWC. (Read the TWIN system, and the Hole in the Card for how it would all work together, links in red at bottom of page)
Let me find a little humor for this piece. I’m a veterinarian, remember. Those divorced moms out there have got kids to stay busy with and usually a dog or two. If they all got their back child support, they’d have more money to take better care of the kids — oh and the dogs.
Thanks for reading.