I appreciate all the credit union folks from Alabama and Florida that attended the CUNA GAC last week in Washington, D.C. We had great representation, with more than 150 credit union officials from our two states attending the conference. However, we proved to have impeccable timing in being in the nation’s capital because House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released his tax reform draft, which among other things, preserves the credit union tax exemption. This is a major victory for credit unions. It shows the strength we have when we work together.
I know there are some of you saying that we would have never been taxed. While that seems true now, during the past ten months I can tell you that everyone’s tax status was in play. Our inside information indicated that the committee looked at every option. That included taxing credit unions. The banks lobbied hard against us and bought radio and print ads multiple times in D.C. What did that get them? Rep. Camp is asking for large banks to be taxed on their assets. Our collective work made an impression.
Ten months ago we began putting our “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” program together. The LSCU took a toolkit provided by CUNA and turned it into a month-by-month plan to contact our lawmakers asking them to “Don’t Tax My Credit Union.” We introduced the “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” postcard campaign and all of you ran with it. We delivered more than 85,000 to our lawmakers. In all, we generated more than 126,000 contacts to Congress. Alabama and Florida were collectively one of the most active states which did not go unnoticed by CUNA and lawmakers alike based on our Hill visits we conducted last week.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a major victory in Washington, D.C. We like to talk about the good old days of H.R. 1151. It’s been far too long in between significant victories. Rep. Camp’s draft is just that – a discussion draft. There will be more talk and more lobbying by those adversely affected. The League and CUNA will continue to keep our tax status on the front burner and monitor where this language is headed. There will be times we need to continue “Don’t Tax My Credit Union.”
Last week at the CUNA GAC, I heard one person say that paying CUNA/League dues is less expensive than paying taxes. Over the past year, CUNA has been working with leagues on ways to better show how CUNA, leagues and credit unions can work closer together and really show our strength. Last week was the best example of that strength in quite some time. Let’s continue to build off this momentum.
Where’s Patrick: I’ll work in the Tallahassee office this week. However, I will make a trip to Montgomery to speak at the chapter’s annual meeting on Tuesday. To see my schedule for the next two weeks visit the LSCU Information for Credit Unions webpage.