Jimmy Patronis seeks to ban political discrimination by debt collectors

Debt collectors will only be able to sue you if you’re in the red, not because you’re voting red (or blue), under a plan launched by the CFO Jimmy Patronis.

A law Project published by Patronis on Tuesday would prevent debt collectors from tracking down debtors because of their policy. Collectors could not “discriminate against or target a debtor on the basis of political affiliation, ideology, point of view, or conduct,” the draft says.

Violating the ban could result in the removal of their state license.

The proposal aims to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from targeting conservatives, which Patronis says will happen after new legislation is passed increasing its funding and allowing the hiring of 87,000 new officers. The IRS sometimes hires local vendors to help with their investigations, and Patronis hopes the measure will deter them — and by extension the IRS — from prosecuting individuals based on their political affiliation.

“With 87,000 new IRS staff, there is no doubt that some of these new agents will target Floridians based on their political beliefs, and it is likely that they could hire debt collectors licensed by the state to sue you,” Patronis said in a released statement.

“Not in my care. If a debt collector wrongfully discriminates against or targets Floridians because of their political affiliation, ideology, point of view, or conduct, we will revoke their license to do business in Florida. .

The bill has not been tabled, but if it is, lawmakers would consider it during their regular legislative session, which begins March 7. It’s part of Patronis’ plan to push back against the IRS after the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is passed, which President Joe Biden signed last month.

Other elements of the CFO’s plan include requiring banks to report interactions with the IRS and allowing civil penalties against tax officials who discriminate against Floridians because of their political affiliation.

But the IRA funding – $80 billion – to bolster the ranks of the IRS will be applied over 10 years, and comes after decades of budget cuts that have left the agency with 16,000 fewer staff than in 2010.

Biden administration officials have said the new hires and funding would help target high-income tax cheats, but Patronis doesn’t believe that.

“This will provide a strong deterrent mechanism against discrimination and targeting by IRS vendors and make bad actors think twice before bidding on crooked tax agents,” Patronis said. “If you’re trying to shake up businesses, nonprofits, or Florida families in the State of Florida, I’m working to ensure our communities have the resources to fight back and win.”

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