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WASHINGTON-Four lawmakers from various states have recently expressed their support for the credit union tax exemption. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wrote President George W. Bush applauding him for his backing of credit unions’ tax-exempt status. “Credit unions were created to provide financial services in a democratic, not-for-profit, cooperative manner – that is, with member ownership and control,” he wrote. “Those characteristics are the foundation of the federal tax exemption.Today, Congress continues to maintain that status because credit unions, while growing and changing, still operate in this unique way. “Ohio’s 535 locally-owned and operated credit unions serve 2.8 million members. Credit unions are true to their mission and they continue to promote the economic well-being of their members.” Over on the East Coast, South Carolina Congressman John Spratt (D) penned a letter to the state’s credit union league President and CEO Garry L. Parks stating his support. While the congressman was unable to meet with the league during their Sept. 22 visit to Capitol Hill, the league did meet with his staff. “Let me assure you,” Spratt wrote, “I understand the importance of credit unions’ tax-exempt status, and do not support any legislation that would take tax exemption away from credit unions. “Credit unions have carved out a special role in our country, partly by using tax exemption to offer diverse and affordable financial services to the members and communities you serve. It is important that credit unions grow and prosper and continue offering your members such choices, and clearly, tax-exempt status helps.” Out in the midwest, a pair of Wisconsin legislators have made their positions clear as well. Senator Russ Feingold (D) wrote the league president, “I wanted to thank you and other members of the Wisconsin Credit Union League (WCUL) for alerting me to efforts by some to push for the taxation of credit unions. As I have indicated in the past, I oppose those efforts. Credit unions have played a special role in serving the financial needs of communities across the nation, and most especially in Wisconsin.” Republican Congressman Thomas Petri (Wis.) agreed. “Credit unions have played an important role in helping Wisconsin’s families achieve their financial goals and the tax exempt status of these financial institutions is a key component in preserving the ability to serve our citizens-their members-so well,” he wrote. “Policymakers in Washington should be careful not to undermine the fine work done by credit unions.” [email protected]

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