WASHINGTON (5/23/13)--Credit union efforts will have to be bigger, louder, and stronger than ever to preserve the credit union tax exemption as tax reform discussions gain momentum in the U.S. Congress. In a nationwide webinar Wednesday, the Credit Union National Association urged credit unions to engage their 96 million members and help them join the fight to support the credit union tax status.
"We're talking about delivering one message, millions of times, starting today...and the message is simple; the message to Washington is 'don't tax my credit union," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said.
He noted that CUNA research has found that two out of three credit union members--potentially 63 million members--are willing to email the U.S. Congress when asked by their credit unions. "We just have to ask them to do so," CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said.
Credit unions are vying with 400 other groups that are also working to preserve their own tax preference, CUNA staff noted. To ensure that they are heard above the din, CUNA, the leagues, and credit union supporters and members will need to be persistent.
"Our action will need to be sustained at least through the end of the year, perhaps longer. The tax status will not be secure until the process is complete," Cheney said.
CUNA has joined with affiliated state credit union leagues to launch a large-scale, nationwide grassroots-mobilization campaign urging credit union members across the country 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.
"There is no light switch to turn on 96 million activists," Cheney emphasized during the webinar. "The conversation with them needs to begin now," he told the more than 2,000 credit union webinar participants.
To help in member engagement efforts, CUNA suggests credit unions:
- Encourage members to visit www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org where they can watch our educational video and take action to email their member of Congress;
- Encourage members to download the CUNA Advocacy App for iPhone and Android smartphones; and,
- Work with CUNA and their state leagues to set up Vine campaigns in their credit union branches and offices (see CUNA tax advocacy toolkit for more inforamtion on Vine).
More information to help credit unions with these efforts is included in a special CUNA tax advocacy toolkit.
To learn more about CUNA's and the leagues' "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign, use the resource link.