April 6, 2018
In this Issue:
Legislature Working on Budgets and Tax Reform
Legislative pay (per diem) runs out for legislators on April 17, but there is much work to be done in order for the legislature to adjourn by then. Legislative leaders spent this week continuing work on budget targets, which is a needed step in order for the budget subcommittees to begin work on the legislative appropriations process.
Similarly, conversations are ongoing with the House, Senate, and Governor’s office around the contents of a tax reform package. The size of the individual tax cuts and whether to include corporate tax reform are among the issues being discussed. At this point, April 17 would seem to be an optimistic adjournment date.
Public Hearing on Tax Bill
The House Ways and Means Committee is holding a public hearing on their tax bill Monday, April 9, at 5pm. In addition to speakers during the hearing, the Committee is soliticing public comments online.
Since they have not released their tax bill yet, we don't know whether or not a tax increase on credit unions will be included. Therefore, our message to the Committee is to ask them to focus on helping Iowans keep more of their paycheck and oppose any credit union tax increase.
Sample comment: I am a credit union member and am happy that the Governor’s bill does not raise credit union taxes. The Senate tax reform bill raises taxes on 20 credit unions and over 600,000 Iowans—which is the opposite of tax relief. Please do not include any tax increase on credit unions in the House bill. A tax increase on credit unions is a tax increase on credit union members like me.
Click here to leave a public comment on the tax bill. Feel free to share with staff and members.
Your Help Needed! Ways to Stay Involved
Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed and visited with your legislators this session. We appreciate your hard work and dedication to advocating for credit unions. Though we've made good progress, the fight isn't over yet. We still need your help to ensure the House tax bill does not raise taxes on credit unions and their members. Here's what you can do to help:
1. Send an Email to Your Representative
As you know, a few weeks ago Senate Republicans passed their tax reform bill on a party line vote. This bad legislation raises taxes on 20 credit unions and 600,000 members in Iowa. The focus is now in the House, which is working off the Governor's tax plan (which does not include any changes to credit unions). Click here to contact your House member, ask them to reject the Senate plan and support tax reform that does not increase taxes on credit unions. Please share this link broadly with colleagues, members and other credit union supporters.
2. Call Ways and Means Committee Members
Although reaching out to every State Representative is important, those serving on the House Ways and Means Committee should be a focus. The Ways and Means Committee is currently looking at the Governor's tax reform bill and will likely be making changes before voting it out of committee. If one of these Representatives is your legislator, or if your credit union has a branch in that area please call them next week between 9am-5pm at the House switchboard number (515-281-3221). You'll need to ask for your Representative and will be able to leave a message if they aren't there.
The message is simple: The Senate tax reform bill raises taxes on 20 credit unions and over 600,000 Iowans, while providing banks an $18 million tax cut. Please oppose any tax increase on credit unions in the House bill. A tax increase on credit unions is a tax increase on Iowans.
Click here for a list of Iowa Ways and Means Committee Members
3. Attend a Townhall in Your Area
Every weekend during session, legislators host townhall meetings back home to provide a legislative update and listen to questions and concerns from constituents. These townhalls are a great opportunity to remind your Senator and Representative about the taxation issue and the positive impact credit unions have in your community.
Click here to find a townhall meeting in your area.
Use these talking points when talking to your Representative.
After the townhall, let us know how it went by filling out this form.
State Senate Special Election April 10
The special election to fill Bill Dix's Senate seat has been set for this Tuesday, April 10th. Annette Sweeney, the Republican candidate, is a former State Representative and currently serves as the USDA's State Rural Development Director. Tracy Freese, the Democratic candidate, is a small business owner from Dike.
Senate District 25 includes all or portions of Butler, Grundy, Hardin, and Story counties. This seat is also up for reelection in November so whoever wins on April 10th would be up for election again in a few months.
Legislation of Interest to Credit Unions
Despite a lack of movement on the House tax bill, several other bills of interest to credit unions progressed through the legislative process. Below is a list of bills that made progress this week. You can view the entire list of bills being tracked by ICUL’s lobby team at any time by going here.
House File 637 This bill deals with background checks for employees of the Iowa Credit union Division. Passed the Senate 49-0 Wednesday.
House Study Bill 2480/Senate Study Bill 3208 An act concerning manufactured homes by creating a manufactured housing program fund and providing eligibility under the home ownership assistance program for military members for the purchase of manufactured homes. Passed House Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday and Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday.
House Study Bill 189 An act requiring the licensure of flexible credit lenders and providing criminal and civil penalties. Passed the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.
Support CUPAC with Payroll Deduction
The current tax fight highlights the importance of having a strong PAC that can support friends of credit unions in elected office. The Iowa Credit Union League’s Credit Union Political Action Committee (CUPAC) works to raise funds through personal contributions to provide bipartisan support to state legislative candidates who support credit unions. Disbursements of CUPAC funds are approved by the ICUL Advocacy Committee.
One of the easiest ways to grow CUPAC is by implementing a payroll deduction program at your credit union.
Click here to view an informational one pager about the program.
Interested? Reach out to Justin Hupfer to learn more.
Federal Policy Update from CUNA
Congress out on Recess
Congress is out for two weeks to celebrate the Easter and Passover holidays and will return on April 10th. A more substantial federal update will be provided in next week's legislative forum.