MADISON, Wis. (8/19/13)--
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) announced Wednesday her support for credit unions' tax-exempt status during a visit with the Madison, Wis., offices of the Credit Union National Association, CUNA Mutual Group, the World Council of Credit Unions and the Filene Research Institute. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) joined a growing list of lawmakers speaking out for credit unions when she told a standing-room-only crowd of credit union supporters in Madison, Wis., Wednesday that she fully backs credit unions' continued tax status as corporate tax-exempt institutions.
"Credit unions provide essential services to their members and communities that would otherwise go unmet," she said. "I have long supported and will continue to advocate that as not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions deserve their tax-exempt status. As we move forward with comprehensive tax reform, I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that access to credit union loans will not be put out of reach for Wisconsin families and small businesses."
Her remarks were made during a visit with employees of CUNA Mutual Group, the Credit Union National Association, the World Council of Credit Unions, members of the Wisconsin Credit Union League, and the Filene Research Institute.
Baldwin expressed pride in having the opportunity to represent the headquarters of CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group and the World Council. She noted that cooperative businesses are consumer-centric business models that add significant value for families and communities.
"Sen. Baldwin understands clearly that credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that continue to earn their tax status by providing benefits to consumers and communities in a direct and tangible manner," explained Tom Liebe, league vice president of government affairs. "Baldwin continues to be a strong and consistent supporter of cooperatives of all kinds and we are indeed fortunate to have her thoughtful and informed voice in the U.S. Senate."
Since the start of the recession in 2007, Wisconsin credit unions' members have saved more than $1 billion. Nationwide, between 2005 and 2011, credit unions have saved their members between $4.3 billion and $8 billion each year. Moreover, their presence in the marketplace moderates the pricing of banks, which provides about $10 billion in benefits to all consumers every year.
Other key lawmakers who have spoken in favor of credit unions include Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee overseeing the tax reform measures.
Legislators who have stated they support keeping the credit union tax exemption include House Financial Services Committee member Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.); House Ways and Means Democrat Rep. Sander Levin and seven other Michigan legislators; and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). In Texas, 38 House and Senate members said they support credit unions, with 32 members specifically mentioning their support for credit unions' tax-exempt status.
Credit unions have urged Congress to preserve their tax status by launching a website, www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org
, and a nationwide campaign reminding the 96 million credit union member-owners about the financial benefits they would lose if credit unions' tax status were eliminated through congressional tax reform efforts.