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News Archive

Congressional recess: advocate in person during tax battle

 

ImageTake action now!

 

Take two minutes to protect the credit union tax exemption by helping Wisconsin reach our contacts goal. Please:

 

  • Share the link with your colleagues, friends and family.

 

 

  • Choose from additional tools and materials for engagement found on The League's or CUNA's grassroots resource pages.

 

 

Credit unions earn their tax status with decades of accomplishments and an unwavering commitment to their members' and communities' best interests. To lose the tax exemption would jeopardize the valued services and $8 billion in annual benefits that American consumers receive because of the income tax-exempt cooperative structure that allows credit unions to put the best interests of people ahead of profit.

While Wisconsin credit unions continue using their websites, social media, printed letters and more as part of their "Don't Tax My Credit Union" advocacy, the August recess, which ends Sept. 9, offers another important front in the battle: local visits with Wisconsin's Congressional delegation in district or even in your credit union.

 

Far from a vacation, this in-district work period is considered by Washington, D.C. insiders as "high season" for interest groups to reach their lawmakers. So it's likely that many of the hundreds of other advocacy groups fighting for priority for their tax status will pursue face time with Members of Congress over the next critical few weeks. It is key for credit union advocates to have an in-district presence as well.

 

Recent articles have talked about how Congress does a lot to engage with constituents during this period, offering a critical window for interest groups to amplify their message through a "surround sound" strategy.

One strategist said, "If you're going to get anything to move, you have to appeal to the lawmakers back at home. The smart outside groups have always used the recess to get their message through."

 

From now until Sept. 9, please advocate for your credit union by:

  • Inviting legislators to your credit union or in-school branch or

 

Credit unions have been working hard to direct their employees, directors and members to the grassroots action page, www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org, where a message to Congress can be sent in just seconds. Wisconsin credit unions are working in concert with The League to concentrate grassroots response during a dedicated week of advocacy. These weeks of advocacy can help Wisconsin regain our usual status as a state known for successful grassroots efforts; currently our state ranks a distant 19th in total contacts made among states fighting to preserve credit unions' tax status.

 

At the same time, bankers are using a website, social media campaign and videos (see 1, 2 and 3) in hopes of derailing our effort.

 

"Advocacy during the coming weeks as the tax reform bills are being drafted—and as our delegation is back in their districts for the August recess—will be essential to our success," said VP of Government Affairs Tom Liebe.

 

"If our tax status is preserved in the draft, expected sometime in September, then our job will be to defend that position before the full Congress," he said. "But if we're not accommodated, we face a much more significant challenge of restoring the tax status in committee, on the floor, or in conference committee. That's a risk credit unions should avoid at all costs."

Even if a tax reform bill does not advance this session, Liebe notes, a strong voice in support of credit unions will be crucial to preserve the current tax status because the decisions made today are the likely starting point from which tax reform deliberations continue.

 

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WESTconsin CU recently tweeted the Don’t Tax My Credit Union video, and by tagging their legislators, they made sure that @RepRonKind,    @TammyBaldwin and @SenRonJohnson would see it. Tagging your legislators in tweets and using the hashtag #DontTaxMyCU not only helps track these messages, but ensures that they reach the legislative audience. Thanks WESTconsin!


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