WASHINGTON (5/16/13)--The Credit Union National Association and its affiliated state credit union leagues have launched a large-scale, nationwide grassroots-mobilization campaign urging America's 96 million credit union members to deliver a united message to the U.S. Congress: "Don't tax my credit union!"
The campaign is being launched at a time when the U.S. House and Senate have made broad-based tax reform a major priority. The initiative will urge lawmakers as part of any final tax reform plan to preserve the federal tax exemption credit unions receive as not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives.
"Policy is being formulated on Capitol Hill now, so we must act now. We can't wait," said CUNA President and CEO Bill Cheney. "It's rare that credit unions call upon their 96 million members to take action, but our members will be the best spokespeople we have, especially on an issue as vital to our future as this."
The CUNA campaign will emphasize that any tax on credit unions is really a tax on its members since credit unions are cooperatively-owned by the people they serve. If credit unions were taxed, their benefits to members and communities will be lost, and a consumer-friendly option in the financial marketplace will vanish.
The nationwide action alert urges nearly 7,000 state and federally chartered credit unions to support this campaign by engaging their consumer-members on this issue and directing them to a range of new resources.
"We have to take action on a large scale," said Cheney. "This is about more than just the banking sector wanting to see us taxed. We're vying with some 400 other organizations and industries that see their own tax status threatened. There will be a great deal of noise on Capitol Hill. We've got to be sure our voice is clearly heard."
One example of these reform efforts came yesterday, when the Senate Finance Committee released a paper examining tax considerations related to economic and community development. The committee paper discusses potential mortgage interest deduction changes, and other tax expenditures. Credit unions are not mentioned in the paper.
The "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign will utilize direct communication from credit unions to their members and supporters as well as web-based and social media channels in order to convey a powerful and sustained message to Congress. Elements include:
A new web site, DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org, where people can learn about the issue, send an email message directly to their members of Congress;
Engagement of influential third-party coalition members that recognize credit unions' tax status is good public policy that benefits consumers and society as a whole;
A national webinar for credit union executives, to be held Wednesday, May 22 at 3:00 p.m. ET, where CUNA will fully outline the issues, strategy, and required actions. To sign up for the webinar, click here;
A reformatted version of CUNA's tax advocacy tool kit.
"Our research shows that informed members are ready to stand with us in this battle," Cheney said. "We have a great opportunity to unite for the good of our members. If Congress taxes credit unions, they'll take away the best financial option from America's consumers. We won't allow that to happen."
For more on the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign, use the resource links.