SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah resolution to draw Congress into the bank/credit union tax battle is now up for a possible vote by the full state Senate this week, but it followed some swift and crafty maneuvering by pro-banking legislators to pass it out of the Senate Taxation and Revenue Committee without debate. The Utah League of Credit Unions quickly complained that the action by the leadership of the legislature, strongly influenced by the banking lobby, was railroading the House-passed resolution toward quick passage on the Senate floor. “This was a stunt and a sad one,” declared Scott Simpson, president/CEO of the League following a procedural move by three committee members to eject the resolution to the Senate floor. Legislative sources said HJR1, as the banker-supported resolution is known, calls for a review of NCUA rulings and asks Congress to empower states and the federal government to start taxing federal and state CUs. The measure could still be defeated in the Senate based on several swing pro-CU votes. “There are a group of senators who really haven’t made their views known so we don’t know where they stand,” said one capitol analyst watching the proceedings. Meanwhile, the League said it now has collected 65,000 signatures on e-mails and in CU lobbies on petitions which will go to Congress discrediting a favorable vote on the bill should it be passed by the Senate. If enacted, the measure would land on the desk of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. a Republican – who it is understood is not bound to sign it – and then be sent first to members of the Utah Congressional delegation, a number of whom have already expressed deep reservations about getting the federal government embroiled in the bruising bank/CU battle. As the Deseret News put it, the controversial resolution “was catapulted” from the Senate Revenue Committee Feb. 14 to the Senate floor “without introduction, discussion or debate.” “I think we’ve had a lot of consideration in both public meetings and with e-mail communications, and since we have such a full agenda we ask to move it to the floor,” declared committee member Sen. Howard Stephenson, (R-Draper). House Majority Whip Rep. Jeff Alexander (R.- Provo), the bill’s sponsor and a CU antagonist, called it “nice to have the resolution moving forward.” But Simpson of the League said the committee’s actions were totally “orchestrated” by the leadership in a move to stifle debate. “Here we are in the Senate and have no ability to have comment,” Simpson said. “I am pretty disappointed, but it is interesting to see how the process can be gamed.” -

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