MADISON, Wis. (7/9/13)--Members at a credit union in South Dakota have stepped up to the plate to bat for preserving credit unions' tax status. They are among the more than 300,000 contacts credit unions have made so far to Congress in the Credit Union National Association's and the state leagues' nationwide "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign.
| Black Hills FCU staff in Rapid City, S.D., counted and sorted more than 2,000 "Don't Tax My Credit Union" postcards collected at its Member Service Centers in two days last week. The postcards were hand-delivered to three members of South Dakota's congressional delegation. (Photo provided by Black Hills FCU)
Black Hills FCU in Rapid City, S.D., a low-income community credit union with $966.6 million in assets and 54,038 members, started hand-delivering postcards signed by its members to its congressional delegation on July 2. Another delivery was planned for yesterday.
In two days, its members signed more than 2,000 post cards urging Congress not to tax credit unions. Roughly 900 were hand-delivered July 2 to the Rapid City offices of U.S. Sens. Tim Johnson (D) and John Thune (R), and U.S. Rep Kristi Noem (R), said the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (The Memo July 8).
"By July 26th, we are trying to get thousands of letters, e-mails and other communications to Congress urging representatives to not eliminate the credit union tax exemption," said CUAD President/CEO Robbie Thompson. "This is our No. 1 priority at this time," he added.
Other action by credit unions on the tax-exemption front:
- In Parlin, N.J., Parlin DuPont Employees FCU, which has 633 members and about $4.3 million in assets, featured a "Don't Tax My CU" article as its top story in its July e-newsletter, said the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange July 8). The article connects to CUNA's Don't Tax My CU webpage where members can send a pre-written letter to their congressional representatives to encourage them not to touch the credit union tax status.
- Essex County Teachers FCU, Bloomfield, N.J., with 2,750 members and $14 million in assets, told the league it included a statement stuffer with its July statements that feature the Don't Tax My CU!" logo and link to the national website.
- As of June 27, New Jersey credit unions had generated 1,769 Capitol Hill lawmaker contacts, said Chris Abeel, NJCUL director of government affairs. "This issue is too important to rely on a few credit unions to carry the ball," Abeel said in a Facebook posting. "Every credit union must do its part. A credit union can't claim to be fully serving its members if it doesn't take time to advocate on an issue of such critical importance to America's 96 million credit union members."
- The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, in a Keystone Extra (July 5) noted that Pennsylvania's credit unions have make 12,842 congressional contacts as of June 30.
- Others are taking to the media to reinforce the don't-tax message. For example, Missouri Credit Union Association Senior Vice President Amy McLard told the St. Louis Business Journal Online (July 5) that removing the exemption would become a tax on working class people who are credit union members. "Even if you are not a member, you get a benefit because credit unions are a check and balance on banks," she said. First Community CU also was quoted about what happened to mutual savings banks and thrifts which lost their tax exemption and collapsed. They "basically went out of business," said Steve Morgenthaler, senior vice president of finance of the $1.9 billion asset, Chesterfield, Mo.-based credit union.
CUNA's and the leagues' "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign is also using social media vehicles such as Facebook, a Twitter handle @CUNAadvocacy and hashtag #Don'tTaxMyCU and the social media micro-video site Vine. To join the action in spreading the message, credit unions can use the Tax Advocacy Tool Kit action. Use the links for more information.
Actively participating in the political and grassroots activities is one tenet of CUNA's Unite for Good, where credit unions rally together to help create a nation in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."