Bank account monitoring proposal draws opposition

Opinion

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by Murrel Bland

The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce is preparing its annual Legislative Agenda — something that traditionally takes a few months. (Its Legislative Committee met Friday, Oct. 8, via Zoom.)

But a proposal that would let the IRS monitor the inflow and outflow of money from bank accounts has caused the chamber to move much more quickly. The issue is the proposal that would allow the IRS the power to monitor individual and business accounts with transactions of $600 or more.

Craig Gaffney, a former Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board and a senior officer with Country Club Bank, urged the chamber to oppose the IRS proposal. The chamber’s Board of Directors would need to approve any such issue.

Gaffney said the proposal would force financial institutions to hire additional employees.

Gaffney cited an editorial published Oct. 4 in The Wall Street Journal. The editorial said the proposal is part of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen says the proposal will help catch tax cheats; yet there is little or no evidence that the plan will work.

There is also concern that the proposal is a very serious invasion of privacy. Critics say the reporting would be a dragnet on regular taxpayers, not a target on the rich, according to an article in marketwatch.com.

Trade associations including the American Bankers Association, the Kansas Bankers Association and the Community Bankers Association of Kansas have opposed the IRS proposal.

Once the chamber has prepared its resolution, it will be forwarded to U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-3rd Dist.)

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.
Opinions expressed here are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the publication.

Federal stimulus spending considered necessary

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

The federal government had to take bold action because of the financial hardship that the coronavirus pandemic caused.

At least that was the message from U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., when she spoke to the Congressional Forum, via teleconference, at Children’s Mercy Park, Friday, Sept. 17. She had originally planned to appear in person, but opted for a teleconference because of a family emergency.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which is also called the COVID-19 stimulus package or simply the American Rescue Plan, is estimated to cost $1.9 trillion.

Part of the stimulus plan was the Paycheck Protection Plan; employers affected by the pandemic could apply for loans which, if conditions were met, could be forgiven. Banks report this as most helpful, particularly for restaurants.

Rep. Davids said she supports a new stimulus funding for restaurants; she said several restaurants, particularly smaller independent operations, were left out.

Rep. Davids was asked about her feelings about Congressional redistricting. She said there should have been more notice given about public meetings concerning redistricting. There were 14 meetings across the state, including one at Kansas City Kansas Community College and another in Johnson County.

Republican political operatives have suggested that Wyandotte County and Johnson County be separated. This would dilute Rep. Davids’ Democrat base. She lives in Roeland Park, which is in Johnson County.

Rep. Davids already has potential Republican opposition; Amanda Adkins, who lost to Rep. Davids in 2020, has announced she will run again.

Forum members expressed concern about excessive government spending. Joe Vaught, a commercial real estate agent, warned about borrowing more money than the federal government can repay. Bill Schmidt, a certified public accountant, said that government borrowing should be limited to the value of the gross national product.

Paul Bush, a banker with First State Bank, said he was concerned about the proposal that would require banks to report most all banking transactions of account holders. This would be an invasion of personal privacy, he said. Rep. Davids said she would look into the matter.

The Congressional Forum is a function of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

Open letter about Delta variant spread and mask mandates

An open letter from Rep. Aaron Coleman to the UG Commission concerning Delta variant community spread

Mayor Alvey, Commissioners Burroughs and Markley,

Regardless of me writing this letter, it is abundantly clear that mask mandates will return nationwide due to a large section of the population committing to never getting vaccinated. As long as these individuals are not vaccinated, the virus will be given fresh hosts to infect and given additional opportunities to mutate and spread. Before long, the virus will have mutated so much that the vaccines may no longer be effective.

So while I do admit to having thrown down my face mask for a few months after having gotten vaccinated, I will certainly agree that not wearing a mask is more comfortable than wearing one. Ultimately due to the unwillingness of my peers to join me in the vaccination efforts, I will once again don a mask upon my face inside buildings.

I strongly urge the UG Commission to enforce a mask mandate county-wide until our community has a vaccination rate exceeding 70%. To not do so is simply sheer negligence as well supported evidence has shown the damage the Delta variant is doing within Wyandotte, and will continue to do for the foreseeable future.

It is simply not enough to mandate masks, but an enforcement mechanism must be included. Those found indoors without a mask should be penalized monetarily with a municipal civil fine. Such funds collected with this enforcement mechanism should be used to pay people to get vaccinated.

At the end of the day, we will never return to normal life until our population is vaccinated. Face masks are simply the way to limit viral spread until such a time when herd immunity is established with vaccination efforts.

I hope you will take the action desperately needed to preserve as many human lives as possible through this pandemic.

Sincerely,
Rep. Aaron Coleman, Kansas House, 37th District