Despite an increase in lobbying activity by credit union and bank advocacy groups on Capitol Hill over the credit union tax exemption, lobbyist Dan Mica said he doesn’t think tax reform will happen this year.
“There could be some piecemeal tax reform, but a major bill this year is going to be almost impossible,” said the former Florida congressman who retired as president/CEO of CUNA in 2010. “Republicans are split among themselves and until they get their act together, I don’t think anything is going to happen.”
The Democrats have some division, too, he said of his own party. Other influences Mica said will impact tax reform – or a lack thereof – include a recovering economy that takes the pressure off the federal government’s need for revenue, and a president who is cautious to sign any tax bill.
“I’m not saying it will go away, but from the subtle signs I’ve seen, the issue of tax reform will be kicked under the table,” Mica said, adding, “but then again, I never say never when it comes to Congress.”
Mica applauded CUNA’s “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” campaign that provides credit unions with marketing materials and directs members to a website that generates letters to members of Congress. Although he said he’s heard some criticize the campaign for launching before any tax reform legislation is written, but Mica said credit unions should be proactive, not reactive.
“Once you’re in the bill, you’re behind the curve,” he said.
Should banks and credit unions face a tax reform showdown, Mica said based upon history, he’s confident credit union members would rise to the occasion and lobby Congress in support of the exemption.
Mica recalled the last time the exemption was threatened, he was stunned at how much support credit unions received during debates on television and radio in which he faced off against banking lobbyists.
Not only callers, but even employees working in the studio voiced support for credit unions and opposition to banks.
“And that was back when (banks) were in relatively good favor,” he said.