Snow Reiterates Support For CU Tax Exemption

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In an another major blow to the bankers' crusade to tax credit unions, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow repeated the Bush Administration's support for the credit union tax exemption before about 125 credit union executives during an open forum here Sept. 10.

"I appreciate the fact that credit unions are in business to do good, as well as to do business," said Snow. "So before I go any further today, let me say to you, I value the fact you are for service. Which is the fundamental reason why talk of taxation of your industry, and what you do, is something the Bush Administration opposes." Snow also urged credit unions to continue expanding their small business lending, despite continued complaints by the banks of credit union encroachment into their commercial markets.

Though the remarks did not plow new ground-Snow issued the administration's support during CUNA's GAC last winter-they are significant because the more top officials are on the record in favor of the tax exemption the less likely the bankers are to gain support for their crusade.

The credit union lobby, especially CUNA, has been carefully collecting on-the-record statements supporting the credit union tax exemption from prominent policymakers.

This includes letters from both President Bush and Democratic Presidential hopeful John Kerry, as well as numerous lawmakers, endorsing the exemption.

In contrast, despite their efforts, the bankers have yet, to my knowledge, to get any major policymakers to endorse their efforts to repeal the exemption.

During the session in his home state of Ohio, Treasury Secretary Snow, who was appearing with House Financial Services Chairman Michael Oxley and NCUA Chairman JoAnn Johnson, recounted for credit unions the Bush Administration's policies expanding credit union access to guaranteed small business loans and tax-deductible health savings accounts; and concerted efforts to combat identity fraud and increase financial literacy education.

Snow's appearance in Ohio was also significant because Ohio is one of the so-called battleground states, a handful of states that are rich in electoral votes that could help determine the presidential election.

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