SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (3/25/13)--Three banks testifying before a Vermont state legislative committee brought up taxing credit unions when they spoke of their opposition to increasing a bank franchise tax. But the idea "didn't get enough traction with legislators to go anywhere," said Joe Bergeron, president/CEO of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions.
Even though the idea went nowhere, it is "just one of many reasons why Vermont leaders need to join AVCU's lobbying team at our annual Credit Unions in the Statehouse day on Wednesday, April 10," said Bergeron. "It's important for credit unions to be active in political involvement and advocacy," he told News Now.
Protecting and defending credit unions' tax-exempt status is the No. 1 legislative priority for the credit union system, said the Credit Union National Association. To that end, CUNA has made available a Credit UnionTax Status Advocacy Toolkit to help credit unions show members the value of credit union membership. Use the link for more information. (See related News Now story, "Tools Added To CUNA Tax Advocacy Arsenal.")
The banks' comments were made in testimony Wednesday morning before the House Ways and Means Committee, which is searching for $20 million to fill the state's 2014 budget deficit, said AVCU. "A broad range of approaches was entertained, including a 25% increase on the franchise fee (0.000096 of the institution's average monthly deposits held in the state) paid quarterly by banks." The franchise tax is an alternative to an income tax (Newslines Express March 22).
Vermont Bankers Association President Chris D'Elia and two bank CEOs objected to an increase in their franchise tax, then attempted to get credit unions on the table as well, without prompting by legislators, said AVCU.
AVCU's lobbying team monitored legislators' reaction to the banks' suggestions very closely, said AVCU. By day's end, however, the suggestion to increase the banks' franchise tax was off the table and the legislators moved on to other alternatives.