Letters to the Editor For Oct. 20, 21
October 20, 2021
IRS Seeks Approval to Snoop
There is an ongoing battle regarding the $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan proposed by the Biden Administration, which includes a provision that would require financial institutions, such as our credit unions, to report to the IRS transactional data for any account with at least $600 of inflows or outflows annually. This unlimited access to consumers' financial data should raise alarms for anyone with a bank or credit union account.
First and foremost, this plan violates consumers' privacy by requiring information that does not reflect taxable activity. No evidence has shown that the proposed requirements would substantially aid the IRS's efforts to close the tax gap beyond the information already at the IRS's disposal.
In addition, the plan would impose significant compliance costs on financial institutions. The strain credit unions would suffer to meet these requirements will directly impact members. This is especially true for smaller financial institutions located in rural or low-income communities.
Lastly, the government relies on outdated data systems to store and secure IRS information meaning that your personal data is in jeopardy. The IRS experiences an astounding 1.4 billion cyberattacks annually, along with multiple data breaches. We should not give the IRS further sensitive data to manage.
Montana's Credit Unions are strongly against the IRS provision within the proposed reconciliation plan, and you should be too. We urge you all to contact your congressional leadership today to oppose this immense violation of your privacy.
President & CEO of Montana's Credit Unions
Bison Wild but Not Free
Too often in the world today there is truth in the statement, "These are wild animals, yes, but they are not free animals."
That is case with the American bison in Yellowstone National Park. The bison are wild animals but not free to roam beyond the park's borders for just beyond those borders are hunters and quarantines waiting to determine their fates.
Wild but not free is also descriptive of the big horn sheep in the Absaroka Mountains, mountain goats in the Beartooths, bobcats in the Bridgers, black bears in the Crazies, elk in the Gallatin Range, pronghorn in the Tobacco Roots, grizzly bears in the Madison Range, and wildlife throughout the Northern Rockies.
These magnificent animals are increasingly confined to smaller and smaller islands of high altitude habitat surrounded by roads, resorts, off-road vehicle trails, and other developments.
It's late, but not too late to help our public wildlife. The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act (NREPA) would add roadless public lands to the national wilderness system and design biologically significant corridors.
Furthermore, many of these roadless lands were placed into national forests explicitly to protect our watersheds, but recreation and extractive activities have overshadowed that function. NREPA would elevate protection of our waters.
Please contact all your members of Congress and tell them that you support protecting our wildlife and water. Ask them to support NREPA.