LANSING, Mich. and CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. (8/29/13)--
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) (at podium), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, noted his support of credit unions and discussed his stance on credit unions' tax status at a town meeting in Cliffside Park, N.J., Tuesday night. In foreground is XCEL FCU's Tom Quigley, who brought up the issue at the meeting.
A congressman from New Jersey has pledged to fight to keep legitimate tax exemptions, saying credit unions do a great job and provide necessary competition to banks. And three more members of Congress from Michigan have made statements of support for the credit union industry.
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which is overseeing the drafting of tax code reform, held a town meeting in Cliffside Park Tuesday night. Among the 200 people attending were Tom Quigley, XCEL FCU director of marketing, and New Jersey Credit Union League President Greg Michlig and Director of Government Affairs Chris Abeel (The Daily Exchange
Pascrell was quick to note that the credit union tax exemption is an intentional exception like the charitable gift and mortgage interest deductions. "It's not a loophole," he said, adding all deductions are under attack but Congress should be going after the loopholes like the ones that send jobs off-shore. He pledged to fight to keep legitimate deductions and exemptions, and noted credit unions do a great job and provide necessary competition to banks.
Tom Quigley, director of marketing at XCEL FCU, Secaucus, N.J., discusses tax reform and the need to preserve credit unions' tax status at a Town Hall Meeting held by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell in Cliffside Park, N.J. (Photos provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League)
"This was an excellent opportunity to communicate the 'Don't Tax My Credit Union' message to an important member of our congressional delegation who will likely play a key role as tax reform moves forward," said Abeel.
In Michigan, 15 out of 16 congressional delegates from that state have voiced support of credit unions, with 12 of them specifically stating support for credit unions' tax status, said the Michigan Credit Union League.
The statements from Reps. Bill Huizenga, Candice Miller and Fred Upton, all Republicans, did not specifically state support for credit unions' tax status, but the statements are strong indications of their support for credit unions in general and the friendship they have shown the movement through their political careers, said the league (Michigan Monitor
"These final three statements now provide the MCUL with a near clean-sweep of support from our 14 representatives and two U.S. senators," said league CEO David Adams.
Upton (R-St. Joseph) said credit unions are a critical element of the economy and that he will continue to work to give credit unions more business-lending authority.
"Credit unions are at the forefront of our economic recovery, providing essential financial services to communities here in Southwest Michigan and across the country," Upton said. "As we remain focused on getting our nation back to work, these member-owned and controlled institutions are helping locally owned small businesses grow, invest, and create jobs in our area. I will continue to stand by our community credit unions and work to lift the credit union member business lending cap."
Miller (R-Harrison Township) also mentioned the important role that credit unions play for small businesses and the need to remove arbitrary regulatory and statutory roadblocks to serving members in all capacities, including business loans.
"Year after year, credit unions in Michigan and across the nation have led the way in providing high-quality, low-cost financial services to millions of credit union members, especially those in more remote locations which do not regularly receive adequate services from other financial entities," Miller said.
"It is clear how critical these nonprofit cooperatives are to so many--from families, to students seeking loans for education, to small businesses who are the drivers of our national economy. We will continue to work in Congress to ensure credit unions are able to thrive without undue regulatory burdens, and in an environment where they can continue to grow their member-lending services," Miller added.
Huizenga (R-Zeeland) pointed out that he is a longtime member of a credit union and said credit unions are vital to the country's economy.
"As a longtime member of a credit union, I understand the vital role that credit unions play in the financial services industry in Michigan and across the country," Huizenga said. "As a federal legislator, I believe that Congress's role is to help create a regulatory atmosphere in the U.S. to foster economic growth. We need to ensure that credit unions continue to provide our constituents with the opportunity and ability to achieve the American Dream.
Credit unions continue to take an opportunity with representatives' legislative recess to meet with their delegates in the home districts. Many are emphasizing the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" national campaign and urging members to contact their lawmakers. For more information, use the links.