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SALT LAKE CITY – With Utah banks stepping up their “tax credit unions” drive to raise education revenue in the state, the Utah League of Credit Unions disclosed Friday it will begin a new awareness ad campaign Oct. 14 bolstering the CU image and pushing the consumer “choice” message. The new series of TV and radio ads being aired by the League follows a letter sent to all Utah legislators by the president of Zions Bancorp, the state’s biggest, suggesting lawmakers look to taxing credit unions as a means to shore up a sharp decline in the state school budgets. The Utah League called the letter sent a week ago by Scott Anderson, the Zions president, another example of the banking lobby’s “cowardice” and “shameful” effort to “hide behind school children” to hit credit unions. The Anderson letter follows an attempt to raise the tax-CU issue before a Sept. 5 meeting of the 15-member Utah Board of Education brought by a retired state legislator and director of a Layton bank, Haven J. Barlow, who, according to the League, has family ties to the Zions banking group. Barlow is the uncle of Harris Simmons, the chairman of Zions Bank, and his daughter is married to Anderson. The Utah Board of Education turned aside the Barlow letter for now suggesting it was a matter to be heard before the 2003 legislature. Barlow had urged the Utah Board to support taxing credit unions to solve a $45 million cut in revenue for the state’s education department.

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