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In op-ed piece, delegate rips federal infrastructure proposal

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - An op-ed column written by Wood County Republican delegate John Kelly takes to task the $3.5 trillion “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” that’s been a topic of heavy debate even among Democratic members of Congress.

Kelly says “A part of Democrat President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget proposal includes a line that would give the IRS permission to monitor customer account balances and track transactions over $600. That includes all business, personal, loan and investment accounts...That ceiling currently stands at $10,000, and it was only enacted after the concerns of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, in Parkersburg on Tuesday, said the provision is a concern to him as well.

“We don’t need the federal government snooping in everyone’s bank accounts,” Morrisey said after his town hall meeting. “I think the way our country has worked, and the way our enforcement activities has worked for a long time is, here in West Virginia, we pursue investigations when there’s probable cause, when there’s a problem. We don’t just do these random sweeps where you compromise the privacy of citizens.”

Most of the area’s congressional delegation agrees with Kelly and Morrisey.

Ohio 6th District Congressman Bill Johnson called it “overreach at its worst”.

“The IRS, under the previous Democratic president, openly targeted conservatives,” Johnson said in a statement. “President Biden, who was Vice President then, is now taking that targeting one step farther. Any American with a bank account over $600 could be tracked by the tens of thousands of new IRS agents the Biden administration plans to hire. Simply put: Joe Biden plans to use the IRS to watch, track and target your banking practices.“

Meanwhile, Ohio Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown issued a statement explaining the purpose of the idea is to track down wealthy individuals and businesses not fully paying their taxes.

“We must crack down on wealthy tax cheats,” Brown said. “This is about the wealthiest people and companies that cheat on their taxes and stick hard-working Ohioans with the bill. I want to cut taxes for Ohio families putting money back in their pockets, like we did with the Child Tax Credit. We pay for that by making sure we know which wealthy people and corporations we need to audit.”

A Brown spokesman added the threshold for audits likely will be larger than $600, and it’s not based on the IRS auditing individual bank accounts. He says banks would be contacted for information on personal accounts, as is the case now.

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