CUNA meets with staff of House tax committee

From CUNA News Now October 17, 2005

WASHINGTON (10/17/05)--Dialogue between credit unions and staff members of the House tax-writing committee opened Friday in an exchange that seemed to improve the lines of communication between both parties, according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) staff attending the meeting.

The meeting resulted after CUNA contacted the House Ways and Means Committee staff to follow up on recent reports that the committee is taking a look at the credit union tax exemption. The committee staff asked for a meeting Friday so CUNA could provide information on the history and public policy justifications for the credit union tax exemption.

"The meeting was cordial and professional," said CUNA's John McKechnie, senior vice president of governmental affairs, who attended the meeting. "Both sides, I believe, left with a feeling that there is an open line of communication between credit unions and the committee."

McKechnie said it is clear that the House Ways and Means Committee is taking a closer look at the non-profit sector and its tax status in general, but particularly at this time while Congress faces challenges in paying for relief for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as other programs. Additionally, McKechnie noted, Congress has to find ways to reconcile the federal budget – that is, make sure that the money it is considering spending matches up with the money available in the U.S. Treasury.

"The committee staff was very interested in every aspect of the credit union tax exemption and had many questions," said McKechnie. "CUNA staff provided significant responses to all of the questions about the rationale for and value of the tax exemption, and left them with several documents supporting the tax exemption."

The CUNA executive said he expects the dialogue will continue as the tax-writing committee continues to look at the nonprofit sector, and as CUNA continues to ensure the committee has the correct information about credit unions.