IRS is tight-lipped about building plans in Bloomington
The IRS is being tight-lipped about its building plans in Bloomington, though documents submitted to the city show at least one remodeling project is slated to begin construction soon.
A $2 million remodel plan was submitted to the City of Bloomington for the IRS National Distribution Center at 2525 Revenue Drive on the far west side, according to records obtained by WGLT through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Oct. 23 commercial building permit application lays out plans to reconfigure the existing print warehouse to include new equipment, plus related mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) work. The scope of work includes reconfiguring office space, a conference room, and cafeteria too, plans show. The project is expected to be completed by May 2024, plans show.
It's unclear how this remodeling relates to another project that the IRS was reportedly considering in Bloomington. WGLT reported in September that Illinois’ congressional delegation was urging the IRS to move ahead with plans for a new print and mail management facility in Bloomington. A congressional staffer said that project was targeting downtown Bloomington and could create several hundred jobs.
WGLT has not been able to confirm whether they are entirely separate projects or related in some way. IRS spokesperson Eric Smith said last week that “we have nothing to offer at this time.” He did not respond to a question about why they were unable to comment.
A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Eric Sorensen, a Democrat who represents parts of Bloomington-Normal, said “we have been trying to do some digging on our end. Right now, we have no new information from the IRS regarding this project.” Requests for comment left with U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Jan Schakowsky – who signed a letter of support for a Bloomington project in September – were not returned.
The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents IRS workers, issued a statement about the remodeling project.
“NTEU has been actively representing employees’ interests in the IRS decision to remodel the National Distribution Center in Bloomington to accommodate additional work in Correspondence Production Services. Printing correspondence with taxpayers remains an essential function of the agency. The IRS has indicated it will take on 20 new employees at the Bloomington location to assist with the transfer of the work and we welcome these new permanent positions,” said NTEU National President Doreen Greenwald.
The IRS has long been a politically ripe target for Republicans. Most recently, House Republicans sought $14.5 billion in cuts to the long-understaffed IRS, ostensibly to help offset aid for Israel. That would have come from the $80 billion that the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act allocated to the IRS, the agency that handles tax return processing, taxpayer service and enforcement.