Note to readers: Stephen Nelson, director of communicatinos with the Utah League of Credit Unions (ULCU), wrote this letter to members of the Utah Senate, which has been debating a bill that would apply a franchise tax to the state's largest CUs.
Our members are asking us why their voices are not being heard! What should we tell them? Are we to answer that their elected officials are not willing to listen, or that those folks that were wise enough to elect them are not wise enough to understand the issues?
How can you listen and not understand their message! They are telling you to vote NO on HB162! This is bad legislation for all credit unions, large, small, or somewhere in the middle. This legislation that is being advertised as only affecting a small number of credit unions could, in its current form, cause widespread destabilization of the credit union system in Utah.
You have heard that small credit unions agree with the premise of HB162. That's not true! We cannot in good conscience agree with anything that could end up taxing our entire industry. Why should we abandon the principles that have brought us to where we are today, serving over 1.3-million member/owners in the state of Utah? The same guiding principles that made America First the great institution it is today can make each of our credit unions strong, viable, and the best deal for our members.
The language in this bill threatens credit unions from Helper to Ogden and Blanding to Logan. The size of the institution is irrelevant, we are all based upon the same principles of member-owned, not-for profit financial cooperatives. We are governed by an elected group who listen to the voice of the membership and act accordingly. We are different from banks and are proud of that difference. We ask you to honor that difference, that difference that was set up by the U.S. Congress so many years ago. That difference that has stood the test of time is due to the veracity of the idea.
Do not practice "political terrorism"; listen to your constituents, the hundreds of thousands of registered voters who are members of credit unions, and kill HB162 before any more damage is done. Let it die in committee and become heroes to your voting public
Mr. Nelson can be reached at stephen ulcu.org.