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Guest Editorial

Payroll is much more than a paycheck

WAYNE DAVIS

Regardless of our jobs, the size of our paychecks, or our tax brackets, there is a universal bond that connects the more than 140 million workers in America. That bond is our paycheck.

Our checks represent much more than a measure of how hard we work and how much we earn for that work. They also represent our key role in supporting much of what makes the United States such a great country. Our payroll withholding system is responsible for $1.4 trillion, or 71%, of our country's annual gross federal revenue. Our taxes help pay for a strong national defense, Social Security, Medicare, and a host of other services we have learned not to take for granted. When the National Guard arrives after disaster strikes, and when the National Transportation Safety Board investigates the cause of an airplane crash, hoping to prevent another one, our tax dollars help pay the bill for these crucial services-tax dollars that are collected and paid through the payroll withholding system.

The individual worker's paycheck and subsequent withholding are the driving force behind our local, state, regional, and national economies. Through our consumer purchases and tax contributions at all levels, we, the working people of America, are the bedrock of our economic strength.

National Payroll Week, Sept. 6-10, coincides with the nation's Labor Day celebration. Founded in 1996 by the American Payroll Association, a non-profit organization committed to payroll training and education, National Payroll Week salutes America's wage earners and the professionals who pay them accurately, and on time. This special week heightens public awareness of the payroll system and how it works.

With the help of partners who provide payroll services across the country, and affiliated agencies united in issues relating to payroll and savings, National Payroll Week also encourages workers to learn how they can take full advantage of the withholding system. Individuals are taught that they can use the withholding system to save for retirement or how paying for medical expenses through pre-tax deductions saves dollars. Community outreach is another goal of National Payroll Week. Currently, there are 125 local chapters of the American Payroll Association. Each of them offers community outreach to help teach new members of America's workforce the fundamental, but often confusing, payroll withholding principles that will impact their paychecks the rest of their working lives.

This year, during National Payroll Week, payroll departments across America held special activities to commemorate this successful system, which contributes so very much to the American way of life. On behalf of more than 21,000 American Payroll Association members in payroll, finance, accounting, and human resources departments, I encourage all workers in America to take advantage of this opportunity to meet their company's payroll professionals. We're here to help you and can show you the many benefits the payroll and withholding systems have to offer you. America works because we are working for America!

Wayne Davis is President of the American Payroll Association.

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