It’s a defeat in Iowa and near victory in Nebraska for enabling savings promotional lotteries.
Following sharp attacks from the banking lobby, citing tax exemption arguments, the Iowa House late Wednesday shelved a bill which would have allowed credit unions to offer the “Save to Win” program popularized by the Michigan Credit Union League last year.
“This was our first attempt in the legislature, so we are not discouraged since we believe Iowa lawmakers will see the consumer value in this kind of program as they have done in Nebraska,” said Justin Hupfer, vice president of government affairs for the Iowa Credit Union League.
The league ran ads in major Iowa newspapers last week accusing the Iowa Bankers Association of distorting the benefits of promotion raffles and a ploy to thwart competition.
Said one of the ads, "it's pretty simple: bankers don't think you should be rewarded for saving more," the ad said. "The bankers' greed to increase profits and limit all competition is getting in the way of common sense efforts to help Iowa families."
The banking lobby argued that “offering a $100,000 raffle prize to one lucky winner is not an appropriate use of the credit unions' tax exemption. The solution to a better financial future starts by empowering Iowans with financial education, not by offering a game of chance."
Meanwhile, the unicameral legislature in Nebraska advanced an enabling bill drafted by the Nebraska Credit Union League. It’s passed two readings and requires a third before being signed by Gov. Dave Heineman.
“Getting more Nebraskans to save for their financial future is what this bill is all about and that resonates with Nebraska lawmakers,” said Scott Sullivan, president/CEO of the league.
A similar bill is moving forward in the North Carolina legislature.