Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd of credit union supporters, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) spoke out this week on behalf of credit unions as corporate tax-exempt institutions.
Baldwin cited credit unions’ role as providing essential services for consumers that often are not met by for-profit financial providers as the key reason for her continuing support.
Baldwin addressed employees of CUNA, CUNA Mutual, World Council of Credit Unions, the Filene Research Institute and the Wisconsin Credit Union League on the CUNA Mutual campus in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday.
She pledged to advocate on behalf of credit unions’ tax-exempt status and monitor ongoing tax reform legislation to assure that the exemption remains secure.
Baldwin, who represents the home state of many of the nation’s credit union organizations in Washington D.C., is the second senator to come forward in public support of credit unions’ continued tax exemption.
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) last month included the credit union tax exemption in his July 26 letter to Senate Finance Committee leaders.
Other legislators also also recently have offered credit unions limited support. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced a regulatory relief bill for community banks July 24 that includes four provisions.
Two of those exclusively benefit community banks, and two would benefit both community banks and credit unions. However, the CLEAR Act contained no credit union-exclusive regulatory relief provisions.
Baldwin has spoken out on behalf of the credit union tax exemption before. As early as 2004, the senator stressed her support for credit unions and the role they play in a letter to the Wisconsin Credit Union League.
"I would like to make clear my opposition to the banking industry's recent efforts to revoke the tax-exempt status for some credit unions,” Baldwin wrote. “At a time when banks have enjoyed record profits, they should not be concerning themselves with restricting the services credit unions provide to their members."
Baldwin also noted in the letter her co-sponsorship of the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 3579) and her support for the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 1375).
"Clearly your responsibilities go further than savings, loans, and checking accounts - you are also providing a helping hand," she wrote. "That is one of the many reasons that I have always felt so proud that CUNA's headquarters are located in my Congressional District."