TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Inside the recently-passed “Inflation Reduction Act” – a $740 billion package, including $80 billion for the IRS – is a provision to hire 87,000 new IRS agents. In response, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis recommends four legislative changes that would protect individuals and small businesses from politically-targeted audits by the IRS.
“For years, I have seen liberal Democrats say with a straight face that small business is the backbone of the American economy, but today they voted to create a large army of IRS agents to aggressively target these hardworking American employers. Now we know that they were lying when they said they loved small businesses,” Patronis told The Florida Standard.
He added that the move by Congress is a “shakedown” that targets the backbone of the American economy: “Even though the Free State of Florida cannot control the insanity of Washington, we must do what we can to protect our small businesses.”
The Florida Senate will be seated at midnight on November 9 after the General Election. Patronis said he’s already getting calls from state senators about the topic, and he’s confident that the Senate will make this a priority, possibly in a special session.
FOUR PILLARS OF PROTECTION
The first step would require state-chartered banks to generate a regular report on any IRS engagement. Then, the state would use the information to identify discrimination patterns or highlight new audits. “We’ve got to protect our citizens because the citizens of the state of Florida spend their money better than Washington does,” Patronis said, referring to the legislature.
The state would also establish a Civil Liability Trust available to small businesses. This trust fund would provide financial assistance to acquire representation in civil cases and a Special Counsel that would assist in defending small business owners. Patronis hopes this measure would deter the IRS from bringing suits against targeted individuals due to their political views.
A state licensing procedure would require IRS agents working in the state to register to access bank account information. The consumer protection move would build transparency around new IRS operatives in the state and help identify their motives.
Florida would establish criminal penalties for discrimination – forcing the IRS to think twice about targeting individuals or discriminating against them based on their political viewpoints. Patronis said that in 2013, the IRS admitted to targeting Tea Party groups, a move he said is criminal.
"THEY’RE COMING FOR US”
“Let’s not be coy – these agents will target red states, like Florida. They’re coming here. They’re coming after us. In a single year, Florida took in nearly $24 billion in adjusted gross income from states like New York, New Jersey, and California. California lost $18 billion. Financially speaking, Florida is eating their lunch,” Patronis said.
“Of all the things that have come out of Washington that have been outrageous, this has got to be pretty close to the top. I think it was just basically a middle finger to the American public,” Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference in Pensacola on Wednesday.
Patronis said that when new leadership comes to Washington, the $80 billion for 87,000 new IRS agents should be withdrawn and redirected to paying off debt or provide more funding for the Border Patrol.