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Central Virginia Chapter Hosts Lawmakers for Legislators’ Breakfast

Oct 9, 2013 by Lewis Wood

In lively discussion at the Wednesday morning legislators’ breakfast hosted by the Central Virginia chapter, lawmakers urged political involvement by credit unions, and credit unions illustrated why they still earn a tax exemption. Thirty credit union members heard this morning from state Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-24) and state Delegates Dickie Bell (R-20) and Ben Cline (R-24).

In lively discussion at the Wednesday morning legislators’ breakfast hosted by the Central Virginia chapter, lawmakers urged political involvement by credit unions, and credit unions illustrated why they still earn a tax exemption.

Thirty credit union members heard this morning from state Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-24) and state Delegates Dickie Bell (R-20) and Ben Cline (R-24).

Hanger said that while it is in vogue now to be anti-government, he is proud of the system in Virginia, adding that if “Congress is a reflection of us we have issues that need to be resolved.” While Congress may appear dysfunctional, “We need to engage more and not just assume that things are being taken care of.”  He said that in Virginia, where the General Assembly is business-friendly, credit unions are in good shape, especially since, he added, he had been told that 66,000 of his constituents are credit union members.

Del. Bell, who used to teach, lauded credit unions for their work on financial literacy, saying they had made a contribution to society. “I applaud you and thank you. It will help us down the road.”  He also took up the theme of constituents needing to stay active, even if people claim they are turned off by politics. “We can’t make a difference if we don’t stay active. Politics and government are participation sports. If you stop playing, you lose your voice. “

Del. Cline reminded credit unions that he has been a member of Wright Pattman since he worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Bob Goodlatte 10 years ago.  He commented on the number of credit union members in Bell’s district …23,000 …. noting that only 12,000 votes were cast in Bell’s last election. The point, he said, is that credit union members can play an important role in elections. Cline sits on the Finance Committee, which oversees tax issues, and said that legislators value credit unions so much that the CU tax exemption in Virginia is not in question.

During a Q & A period, the lawmakers were asked about the credit union tax exemption. Sen. Hanger said he readily supported the tax exemption when credit unions affiliated with specific companies, but now needs additional information on continuing the exemption as more credit unions open up to a community Field of Membership. That candid comment led to attendees agreeing that credit unions need to earn their tax exemption every day, and citing examples of how they do just that. Examples ranged from loans as small as $200 at a cost lower than payday lenders, to credit unions offering 0% loans to members who are furloughed federal employees, and a reminder that not for profit credit unions make the marketplace more competitive, as is the case with other not for profit sectors such as hospitals. One attendee noted that he once worked for Wachovia and would recommend customers comparison shop at credit unions if he thought the bank’s interest rate was too high.

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