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'Don't Tax' Rallies, Meetings With Delegates In Full Swing
MADISON, Wis. (8/23/13)--"
Click to view larger image Credit unions, guests and speakers attended a rally Thursday outside the headquarters of the Credit Union Association of New York in Albany to voice their support and raise awareness to preserve credit unions tax exemption.
Don't Tax My Credit Union" rallies and credit unions' meetings with congressional delegates in their home districts are in full swing this week on behalf of preserving credit unions' tax exempt status. The Credit Union National Association is encouraging credit unions to keep up the good work.
 
For example, an energized crowd of credit union leaders and members rallied Thursday morning outside the Credit Union Association of New York's headquarters in Albany to voice their support for the national "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign. The rally was part of CUANY's "Don't Tax My Credit Union Week," designed to raise awareness about the campaign and urge Congress to preserve credit unions' tax-exempt status.
 
Click to view larger image Credit Union Association of New York President/CEO Bill Mellin told attendees at a Don't Tax My Credit Union rally that eliminating credit unions' tax exempt status would result in a new tax on 96 million credit union members.
The rally attracted considerable media attention, with WRGB Ch. 6, WNYT CH. 13, WTEN Ch. 10, WGY-AM and The Times Union covering the event. (Use the link to view CBS Albany's coverage.)
 
"Credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives that return their earnings to their members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher interest on savings, enhanced service and little or no fees," CUANY President/CEO Bill Mellin told the group. "Elimination of the exemption would create a new tax on the 96 million credit union members nationwide and erase $6 billion to $10 billion in annual economic benefits."
 
Also speaking were Paula Stopera, president/CEO of CAP COM FCU; Curt Cecala, CEO of TCT FCU; Lucy Halstead, senior vice president/chief operations officer of First New York FCU; and Michael Tobler, president/CEO of Albany Firemen's FCU. 
 
Click to view larger image Don't Tax My Credit Union rally attendees in New York signed postcards asking Congress to keep the credit union tax-exempt status. Nearly 100 credit unions across New York participated in the postcard campaign coordinated by the Credit Union Association of New York (Photos provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
Stopera and Halstead emphasized that the exemption allows credit unions to reinvest money back into their communities. CAP COM FCU will donate more than $200,000 to community and charitable initiatives this year, Stopera said.  Cecala and Tobler highlighted their credit unions' histories and emphasized that time and growth have not changed their fundamental mission of serving members.
 
John DeCelle, chief marketing officer at SEFCU, noted that grants, scholarships and other forms of charitable giving would come under scrutiny if the exemption were lost. "If we lose our exemption, we're going to have to take a look at our overall situation," he said. "There would be some type of change in how we operate."
 
Click to view larger image The New York rally grabbed the attention of media and tweeters alike, many sending photos such as this one.  Some of the tweets:  "What a great morning--Proud to be part of the NY#creditunion movement % share our message!#DontTaxMyCU pic.twitter.com/Y4X8710bDR" and "First round of #Don'tTaxMyCU rally pics are up on Facebook! on.fb.me/176Hutx @CAP_COM FCU@SEFCU @AlloyaCorp."
"I feel it is very important for the future survival of credit unions that our voices be heard concerning this issue," said Randy Martin, CEO of Dannemora FCU. "Without competition from credit unions, banks would have free reign with what they charge and the dividends they pay their customers to ensure large bonuses for their board members--leaving the unbanked without any options."
 
Other state activities:
  • The Missouri Credit Union Association was profiled in The Missouri Times (Aug. 18), with Amy McLard, senior vice president of advocacy, speaking to topics such as the credit union tax-exempt status, raising the member business lending cap and regulatory burden. "We have a national effort on hand going with Facebook, Twitter and websites to make sure lawmakers recognize the important role credit unions play in the financial landscape and how much we serve working families and why that's needed," McLard said.  "Because if credit unions would be taxed, it would be a tax on the people who use credit unions as well as other people who don't because we benefit consumers."  Use the link to read the article.
  • Pennsylvania credit unions have made about 25,000 contacts with their
    Click to view larger image More than 60 college students interned at CUNA Mutual Group this summer, working in various business unites that serve credit unions and the Madison, Wis.-based company. The group also got a lesson in CUNA Mutual's allegiance to credit unions by wearing  "I am 1 of 96 Million" T-shirts supporting credit unions' tax-exempt status. That support was part of CUNA Mutual's "Action Days," also observed by its full-time employees, hundreds of whom wrote letters urging Congress to "Don't Tax My Credit Union." (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
    congressional representatives since the Don't Tax My Credit Union campaign began in late May (Life is a Highway Aug. 22). The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is encouraging credit unions to participate in a number of town hall meetings held by members of Congress during the legislative recess, including one today and several next Friday. PCUA provided a schedule of meetings for lawmakers and urged credit unions to visit the #DontTaxMyCU website and contact lawmakers.
  • Also see the related News Now story, Sen. Enzi, Two Congressmen State Support Of CUs' Tax Exempt Status, for successful results of meetings with lawmakers in Wyoming, Montana and Tennessee, who added their support of credit unions' tax exempt status.
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