WASHINGTON (8/23/13)--A U.S. senator and two congressmen have added their support of credit unions' tax-exempt status to the growing list of congressional supporters, a further indication that credit unions' "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign is having an impact. They are U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), and U.S. Reps. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.).
A meeting with U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) resulted in his stating his support for credit unions' tax exempt status. From left are: Chris Kemm of Mountain West Credit Union Association; Steve Higginson of Reliant FCU, Casper; Sen. Enzi; Brian Rohrbacher, Atlantic City FCU, Lander; Bill Willingham, WyHy FCU, Cheyenne; andVicki Nelson, River-Rail Community FCU, Casper. (Photo provided by Mountain West Credit Union Association)
Sen. Enzi affirmed his support of credit unions' status during a meeting with the Mountain West Credit Union Association and five Wyoming credit union leaders in Casper, Wyo.
"Today's meeting with Sen. Enzi was very positive," said Scott Earl, president/CEO of MWCUA. "He showed a great deal of support for credit unions' current cooperative structure and the value that credit unions bring to the community."
This was the first time Enzi had met with credit unions in Casper. MWCUA also is scheduling a meeting with him in Gillette.
Montana's Rep. Daines expressed his support of credit unions' status in a letter to the Montana Credit Union Network president/CEO Tracie Kenyon.
"Like you, I appreciate the important role that credit unions play for thousands of Montanans every day," he wrote in the Aug. 13 letter. "The service they provide to their members is particularly important to rural financing. I support the current tax exemption because credit unions are unique depository institutions that seek to meet the needs of their members rather than maximize profits."
He noted that although he does not serve on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is overseeing the tax code reform, "I will work to encourage the committee to maintain this provision as it develops comprehensive tax reform legislation to make the tax code simpler and fairer."
"We are overjoyed by Congressman Daines' explicit support of credit unions' tax exempt status," Kenyon told News Now. "Although his tenure in Congress is short, he has quickly grasped the unique and important role that not-for-profit credit unions serve and articulated it in his written message."
Tennessee's Roe expressed his support in an e-mailed message Monday to Olan Jones, president/CEO of Eastman CU in Kingsport, Tenn.
"In East Tennessee, credit unions play an important role by offering low-cost financial services to their primary shareholders: homeowners, families and small businesses," Roe said. "I support maintaining this tax exemption in order to keep credit availability high and the cost of borrowing low for American families and entrepreneurs.
"I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind should this issue come up for a vote before the entire House of Representatives," Roe said.
The Tennessee Credit Union League coordinated a meeting recently with Roe and credit unions at United Southeast FCU in Bristol, Tenn. Comments by credit union members related to the Don't Tax My Credit Union campaign had a positive impact on Roe's position on credit unions' tax exemption.
"We organize our efforts so the credit unions are out front meeting with the members of Congress," league President/CEO Fred Robinson said. "We let them tell the story (about the impact on members), and their stories rang very true with Congressman Roe," he told News Now.
"We're meeting across the state right now and have met with half of the delegates. Many of them have supported [credit unions' tax exemption] verbally. Roe is the first to put it in writing, and we are very excited about that. The credit unions get all the credit," Robinson said.
The new supporters join a host of members of Congress who have recently stated their support of credit unions tax exemption, including Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Reps. Rush Holt (D-N.J.); Keith Rothfus and Joe Pitts, both Republicans from Pennsylvania; Sander Levin (D-Mich.); and seven other Michigan legislators. In Texas, 38 House and Senator members said they support credit unions, with 32 mentioning specifically they support credit unions' tax exempt status.