MERIDEN, Conn. (12/5/13)--U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) stressed that "vigilance is eternal" in credit unions' campaign to maintain their tax status, during an interview with the Kelly Fuhlbrigge, Credit Union League of Connecticut vice president of government relations.
Credit unions must maintain close contact with their legislators during the tax reform process, Larson said in his interview with the league.
Larson's words urging credit unions to remain vigilant in their tax status advocacy took on particular poignancy Wednesday when House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), a key player in the nation's tax-policy discussions, told reporters that he will hold off unveiling tax reform legislation until February or March of 2014. Camp has spent much of this year saying tax reform legislation, to reduce individual and corporate tax rates while eliminating some tax expenditures and broadening the tax base, would be ready before this year's end.
Congress is running out of time and Camp has no plans to introduce the tax bill this year, he told reporters after a political luncheon (Bloomberg Government Dec. 4).
The Credit Union National Association has advised credit unions that political advocacy, on issues like tax status, is a "long game." Advocates, CUNA says, have to be disciplined, have to work methodically to generate "support on the ground," and have to be in it for the long haul.
Connecticut's Larson, in his interview with the league, also said, "It's always wise to notify your legislator and making sure you are bringing them up to date, particularly of the great value that credit unions bring." Larson told Fuhlbrigge, "As a credit union member myself, I can speak of first hand of the value that credit unions bring especially during difficult times, and the unique nature of the charter agreement."
Particularly important is educating new legislators who may not be familiar with credit union ideals, structure and tradition of service excellence, Larson said.
He stressed the importance of maintaining a public forum for discussions before any legislation is voted out of committee.
"That maximizes the opportunity for constituents to have voices heard on all levels, particularly if you are a credit union member or are invested in the goals of credit unions," Larson said.
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