WASHINGTON (9/13/13)--Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) this week became the latest member of the U.S. Congress to support preserving the credit union tax exemption, noting that "taxing credit unions would do more harm than good to consumers who voluntarily join not-for-profit credit unions.
"As a 21-year credit union member, I believe credit unions should continue to operate as member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institutions. A tax hike on credit unions could result in higher loan rates, lower dividend rates and perhaps a reduction in the basic services credit unions offer their members," Bustos said in an Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) release.
Through her work experience and as a member of a local Illinois credit union, Bustos has gained a considerable appreciation for the not-for-profit industry, including credit unions, said the league. Bustos believes in the movement's "people helping people" philosophy and strongly supports maintaining the credit union member-owned, not-for-profit, cooperative structure, the league added.
The legislator, whose 17th congressional district contains more than 218,000 credit union members and 35 credit unions holding about $8.2 billion in assets, said credit unions are critical to the growth of communities. Bustos was elected to her seat for the first time in the 2012 election cycle, and she enjoyed strong support from ICUL, credit unions in Illinois, and CULAC.
Keith Sias, ICUL vice president of governmental affairs, said, "Illinois' credit unions are very appreciative of Congresswoman Bustos' support of maintaining the tax exempt status of credit unions. Her on-going public recognition of the key role credit unions play in the financial marketplace is very important as Congress considers the issues around tax reform."
On Sept. 10, CUNA and the state credit union leagues' Don't Tax Tuesday II directed thousands of pro-credit union messages to members of Congress. This major social media push used Twitter, Facebook, as well as CUNA's own DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org websites--in Spanish and English--to generate over 5,000 tweets, 600 Facebook posts and 8,000 e-mails to lawmakers.
Overall, more than one million Twitter users were potentially exposed to the #DontTaxMyCU campaign on Tuesday. (See Sept. 12 News Now story: CUs' 'Don't Tax Tuesday II' Ups Message Total To 850,000.)
In Texas, 38 House and Senate members have said they support credit unions, with 32 members specifically mentioning their support for credit unions' tax-exempt status. See News Now story: Texas 'Don't Tax' Efforts Put Advocacy In Limelight.)