WASHINGTON (3/11/15)--Credit unions have heard it before, but it bears repeating a senior Senate staffer emphasized during a CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference breakout session Tuesday: Anything can be on the table in regards to tax reform, including the credit union tax status.
The question is when tax reform will become a reality. Chris Campbell, staff director for the Senate Finance Committee, said the committee is determined to tackle reform before the 2016 presidential election.
"We're going to do everything that we can do to try and get there," Campbell said. "We'll work on it every day. But we recognize that we cannot go beyond this year, because next year will be taken over by presidential politics."
Mark Gerson, a tax lobbyist with Miller Chevalier, said it's important for credit unions "to maintain their vigilance on the long march toward tax reform," through an election process that may include turnover, Gerson said. "For credit unions it's important to stress why your tax status is important, and always keep your message in front of policy makers."
If tax reform is pushed to 2017, it is likely to be a significant priority for the incoming president, Campbell said.
Preserving the credit union tax status is the top advocacy policy of CUNA. "Credit unions behave differently from other institutions due to their not-for-profit structure," CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle recently said (News Now March 5). "It's not what we do, but how we do it, and who we do it for makes the difference. The cooperative structure allows credit unions to focus totally on member value and service, and, overall, prevents us from taking the types of risks big banks take in the name of profits."
(For more coverage of Tuesday's GAC breakout sessions, see related News Now stories: NCUA exam priorities, concerns discussed; Card data security tech not quite enough; and CUs layout FOM rule wish list to NCUA.)