Mica: CUNA Not Over-Stating Threat To Status

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Dan Mica wants credit unions to know the threat of tax on credit unions is growing more tangible every day.

The CUNA president disputed assertions in this column two weeks ago that CUNA may be overstating the threat. Mica said the various banking trade groups, including the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers Association, and America's Community Bankers, have all intensified to new levels their lobbying efforts to convince Congress to repeal the credit union tax exemption. The threat, "is pervasive, it's serious, its wide, it's deep, and it's well though out," said Mica, in an interview with The Credit Union Journal last week.

"If you wait for a bill, then you're already behind the curve," he asserted. "My goal is to see that there will never be a bill."

So CUNA and its state leagues are working hard in this election year to persuade lawmakers of the continued viability of the credit union tax exemption. It's important to drive home the point now, Mica insisted, when every member of the House and a third of senators are campaigning for reelection. Since they need the support of credit unions, who have become an important and powerful player in national politics, the aim is to get as many lawmakers on the record pledging to maintain the tax exemption. That's because next year is a non-election year and they won't need credit union support. "And that's a perfect year to look at the tax issue," he noted.

And the pressure on the tax exemption will only get stronger, he insisted. Beside the banks' increasing efforts to target the tax exemption, the federal budget deficit will continue at or near record levels, putting more pressure on lawmakers to come up with new sources of revenue.

"This is a custom-made opportunity to drive a message home to get credit unions in a position that will pay dividends for many years to come," said Mica.

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