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WASHINGTON – CUNA is encouraging credit unions to begin an anti-taxation petition drive and to visit Capitol Hill in September to help ward off the looming taxation threat supported by the banking industry. “It’s an effective method,” CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica told credit unions during the June 24 Web cast, “The Real and Growing Threat.” Mica highlighted five things credit unions should do to get involved in the fight. He recommended that credit unions participate in Project Zip Code, energize their membership, educate their members of Congress, participate in the petition drive, and Hike the Hill in September – which Mica dubbed National Hike the Hill month. The Web cast, which was hosted by former local news anchor Paul Berry at Credit Union House, included remarks from Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.) on the need to educate members of Congress on the credit union difference. Quinn and his father each helped to start a credit union. They said that members of Congress often do not know the difference between banks and credit unions. The best way to educate them is to get face-time with them either in Washington or in their districts. Mica suggested getting lawmakers into the credit unions and attending political events coming up during the election season. Mica also urged credit unions to sign up to `Hike the Hill’ in September for National Hike the Hill month. About a dozen states have already pledged to make the trip, he noted. He added that CUNA has gotten word that the bankers plan to fly in a little earlier and credit unions cannot afford to give the bankers the last word before election time. “This is not the time to panic,” Mica said, but credit unions need to be sure to get their story out. The video stream also included vignettes from various people in the credit union movement including American Association of Credit Union Leagues Chair and Ohio Credit Union League President and CEO Paul Mercer and CUNA-retained Republican lobbyist Mark Isakowitz of Fierce, Isakowitz, and Blalock. “I’ve heard members of Congress mention this issue to me, and we didn’t used to hear that,” Isakowitz said. CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said that some credit unions still think the tax burden would not be that great and that banks do not pay that much because of the tax loopholes. In fact, Hampel said, banks paid one-third of the profits in taxes last year, equaling $155 billion. [email protected]

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