Michigan lawmakers say they’ve succeeded in stopping IRS plans to move more than 90 jobs from the Detroit Computing Center to Tennessee.
In a statement Friday, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence said a letter from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen this week indicated that the Detroit Computing Center, and all of its employees, would remain in the current downtown location.
“I am deeply gratified by the outcome of this effort to save not only the jobs of hard-working Detroiters, but the very community that these people call home,” Lawrence said. “Uprooting these workers, and their families, to move 750 miles from their homes, schools, churches, relatives and friends would have had a devastating impact for all involved. I am grateful that the administration and the IRS recognized the stakes of such a move and were able to see the true cost of such action.”
IRS officials could not immediately be reached for comment Friday night.
Lawrence, along with U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, and U.S. Reps. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, and Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, had raised concerns about the proposed move. The delegation wanted the IRS and U.S. General Services Administration to search for a new location in Metro Detroit before relocating the printing and mailing jobs.
Last year, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Peters met with Koskinen in Washington, urging him to cancel the move of jobs from the Patrick McNamara building to Memphis.
The IRS Detroit location is a correspondence production services office used mainly for printing and mailing correspondence to taxpayers, which requires large printing equipment and loading docks. The IRS decided to move after officials said the current space can no longer accommodate needs.
The current facility has more than 73,000 square feet, including 29,000 for printing and insertion and nearly 30,000 for warehouse and loading docks, according to government documents obtained by The Detroit News. Detroit has hundreds of vacant or abandoned industrial buildings that congressional supporters argued should be considered before the IRS shifted work to Tennessee.
The IRS said in 2013 it would consolidate computing centers in response to an audit from the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration. The audit said closing the Detroit data facility would save $15 million.