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WASHINGTON – CUNA has applauded President Bush’s fiscal year 2006 budget proposals, which the trade groups says encourages more Americans to build wealth through savings programs. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica said “credit unions, which by their very nature promote thrift, have for some time been highly concerned that the savings rate in this country is nowhere near the level that it should be.” “The budget unveiled by the President – which includes such items as Life Savings Accounts, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and Health Savings Accounts – shows a strong commitment to this vision,” Mica said. CUNA has been working with the Congress and the administration to take actions to “realize the vision of greater savings activities by America’s consumers,” Mica added. Bush’ proposal to establish IDAs would allow credit unions to serve as savings program sponsors and help more low- and moderate-income Americans begin to save, said Leon Peace, CUNA legislative counsel for tax and pensions. Peace said CUNA is also interested in proposals that would consolidate current law individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and defined-contribution accounts; ensure fair treatment of older workers in cash balance conversions and protect defined benefit plans; and strengthen funding for single-employer pension plans. Still, “taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely” Peace cautioned saying that CUNA agrees that budget constraints require careful consideration of a number of competing proposals. [email protected]

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