WASHINGTON (2/13/13)--President Barack Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union address helped to shine the spotlight on two key credit union issues and reflected two of the Credit Union National Association's action priorities for 2013.
Among his wide-ranging topics, the president detailed areas of economic recovery and underscored the continuing need for job growth.
"A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs--that must be the North Star that guides our efforts. Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?" the president said in his remarks.
Just this week the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a report, which it said demonstrates that small businesses have been at the core of our economy's growth over the past few years. 2011 represented the second full year of economic expansion since the peak of the recession in 2009, with small businesses representing half of the private-sector output, according to the SBA.
Furthermore, the SBA report said small firms with fewer than 500 workers outperformed large firms in net job creation in three of the four quarters of 2011, similar to a pattern that has existed since 1992 in periods when private-sector employment rose.
"Small businesses need access to credit to help their businesses grow--to keep driving the economy on. Credit unions are there to help them with their credit needs and stand ready to do even more," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney noted Tuesday night.
"Congress needs to help credit unions help small businesses by increasing our member business lending cap now," Cheney said.
CUNA, the state credit union leagues, credit unions and small business representatives support bi-partisan legislation that will increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%. Increasing the MBL cap would create 140,000 jobs and inject $13 billion in new funds into the economy during the first year after enactment--and at no cost to taxpayers, according to CUNA estimates.
Also during his address, Obama noted extensive policy talks to address tax laws. Preserving the credit union tax status is a top CUNA priority.
"Credit unions were not mentioned in the president's tax policy remarks, nor did we expect they would be. However, the country's focus on tax issues and deficit reduction make it clear that CUNA must remain primed and vigilant on this issue," Cheney said.
CUNA and the leagues are monitoring tax policy issues on both the federal and state levels. (See related story: CUNA Provides Ads For CU Tax Fight Counterpunch)