WASHINGTON (8/20/13)--The list of credit union tax status backers in the U.S. Congress continues to increase as that body remains in summer recess: Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) are the latest legislators to voice their support.
Levin, Michigan's senior senator, said he continues to "support the work of service-oriented, not-for-profit, member-owned credit unions and their tax exempt status." The senator's comments, which were released by the Michigan Credit Union League, come as members of Congress continue to work on a comprehensive rewrite of the U.S. tax code. Tax policy leaders have planned a "blank slate" approach to reform legislation, which would remove all tax expenditures from the code and would add back in those that make the grade (Michigan Monitor, Aug. 19).
Levin said he wants to see loopholes that big corporations use to pay less taxes closed and to add more revenue, but he said he doesn't think raising taxes on credit unions is the way to achieve that goal. "Tax reform efforts should not undermine our economy, or remove useful exemptions such as the tax exemption for credit unions," he said.
Rep. Holt's recent comments were similarly supportive. Responding to a New Jersey Credit Union League survey of that state's congressional delegation, Holt's office said the legislator supports the continuation of the federal tax exemption for the nation's credit unions (The Daily Exchange, Aug. 19). "He always has and will continue to support the credit union tax exemption because credit unions provide needed and valued services in our local communities," his staff added.
The legislators join Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who last week told a standing-room-only crowd of credit union supporters in Madison, Wis., that she fully backs credit unions' continued tax status as corporate tax-exempt institutions. (See News Now story: Sen. Baldwin Joins Growing List Supporting CU Tax-exempt Status.)
Other key lawmakers who have spoken in favor of credit unions include Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee overseeing the tax reform measures.
Legislators who have stated they support keeping the credit union tax exemption include House Financial Services Committee member Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.); House Ways and Means Democrat Rep. Sander Levin and seven other Michigan legislators; and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). In Texas, 38 House and Senate members said they support credit unions, with 32 members specifically mentioning their support for credit unions' tax-exempt status.
Credit unions have urged Congress to preserve their tax status by launching a website, www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org, and a nationwide campaign reminding the 96 million credit union member-owners about the financial benefits they would lose if credit unions' tax status were eliminated through congressional tax reform efforts.