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In all my years of public service, it’s always been a point of pride for me to listen closely when I hear complaints and concerns from friends and neighbors. The most recent uproar has me as concerned as ever.

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. I couldn’t believe such a crazy idea would ever make it into legislation, but when I heard it from more than one person, I remembered how these days nothing is off-limits for those on the left. That ceiling currently stands at $10,000, and it was only enacted after the concerns of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

This idea is being pushed as a way to curb tax evasion and help wring more money out of the American public to help pay for the president’s giveaways, but it would have a huge effect on privacy as well as personal freedoms. It’s laughable the president has the audacity to call his tangled web of a budget the “American Families Plan.” I add my voice to the many common-sense congressional representatives who have already spoken out about the alarming overreach of this proposal, along with more than 40 trade associations who feel the same way. Not only would this be a huge breach of customer privacy, but many banks would never be able to keep up with the tedious reporting requirements. Just think of our neighborhood credit unions and independent banking institutions still holding on after years of corporate takeovers.

These burdensome regulations would certainly show up in the customer experience, whether that be through even fewer services offered, higher fees and lower returns on savings. We’ve long known the IRS operates as a political animal, and many of us have great concerns about leaks and hacks. Some statistics show the IRS experiences 1.4 billion cyberattacks each year!

We should all be concerned about the federal government just handing over this kind of power to unelected bureaucrats who are known to carry out political attacks. A Republican senator questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about this proposal during a Sept. 28 hearing. She had no clear explanation for how this kind of personally invasive monitoring would “close the tax gap,” only admitting that it would add even more lines of complication to the already difficult and intimidating tax filing process.

I hope enough of us raise our voice in opposition to this crazy plan to keep the feds out of our pockets any more than they already are. Please join me by contacting our two U.S. senators and our congressional representatives and ask them to make sure nothing like this ever happens in our country.

John R. Kelly. R-Wood, is a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and a Parkersburg resident.

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