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W.Va., N.Y., And More Talk 'Don't Tax My CU'
MADISON, Wis. (7/22/13)--Leagues and credit unions have stepped up their visits and letters to lawmakers in their effort with the Credit Union National Association to persuade Congress to "Don't Tax My Credit Union."
 
With less than a week's notice and temperatures soaring in the high 90s, West Virginia Credit Union League representatives took the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message directly to lawmakers and their key staff Thursday.
 
Click to view larger image During the West Virginia Credit Union League's and state credit unions' visit to Capitol Hill Thursday to advocate preserving credit unions' tax- exempt status, the group stopped by Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) office. From left are Kirten Mehta, Manchin's general counsel; Bob Burrow, CEO of Bayer Heritage FCU, Proctor, W.Va.; and Mike Tucker, CEO of West Virginia Central CU. (Photo provided by the West Virginia Credit Union League)
League President Ken Watts; Proctor, W.Va.-based Bayer Heritage FCU CEO Bob Burrow; and West Virginia Central CU CEO Mike Tucker converged on Capitol Hill to talk about preserving the credit union tax exemption, which was established by Congress in 1917 and reaffirmed several times, said the league.
 
"Our meetings on the Hill today were very positive," said Watts, adding that Sen. John "Jay" Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, "reaffirmed his strong support for the tax exemption through his legislative director."
 
Watts noted that the legislative process "is all really fluid at this point, and we want to leave no doubt with West Virginia lawmakers where we stand on this issue."
 
Credit Union Association of New York President/CEO William J. Mellin wrote a letter to Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, to urge the two credit union supporters "to make the preservation of the credit union tax-exempt status a top priority in any legislation to revise the tax code."
 
Pointing out that credit unions already pay property and payroll taxes, Mellin said that ending tax exemption from corporate income taxes  "would be tantamount to killing the industry. At a time when people are still concerned that too-big-to-fail banks are not being held accountable for their mismanagement, credit unions offer New Yorkers a means of supporting community-based, member-run institutions where their influence isn't dependent on how many shares they can buy."
 
He wrote that the financial and social benefits that credit unions provide are far greater than the amount of money that would allegedly be generated by taxing credit unions.
 
In Pennsylvania, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has direct oversight of tax code reform, hosted a conference call with Mary Beth Wilcher, CEO of Erie (Pa.) FCU and Dave Ackerman, president/CEO of USX FCU, Cranberry Township, to discuss credit unions' tax status and regulatory concerns.
 
The taxation discussion focused on the structural differences between credit unions and banks, the benefits of credit union membership, and the direct and indirect effects of taxing credit unions, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway July 15). Kelly is a support of regulatory relief legislation and has publicly voiced concerns about burdensome regulatory environment that smaller financial institutions like credit unions face.

CUNA and the leagues have made more than 406,000 contacts with lawmakers on the issue, as of July 18. To help get the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message across, credit unions and members are using CUNA's and the leagues' resources and social media sites including the Don't Tax My CU website, Facebook and the micro-video site Vine, and share the Don't Tax message through Twitter, @CUNAadvocacy and the hashtag, #DontTaxMy CU.  See News Now's related story, CUNA: Don't Miss Out on 'DontTaxMyCU Tuesday.'
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