Connolly counsels ‘vigilance now’ on tax exemption
Rep. Gerry Connolly (Tripplaar photo)
Sept. 12, 2013 – Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., spoke at NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus on Wednesday about the need for credit unions to make their voices heard in Congress in response to aggressive attacks from the banking industry.
Connolly was the only member of Congress in the Virginia delegation who cosponsored H.R. 1418, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Creation Act of the last Congress, and spoke about his difficult election in 2010 when bankers supported his opponent in the Democratic primary in retaliation for his pro-credit union positions.
“They tried to make an object lesson of me, and they failed,” Connolly said. He said when bank lobbyists came to visit him after the election, he told them, “You have zero leverage with this member of Congress . . . if you like some of my votes, it’s just coincidental.”
He urged credit union representatives to make noise on the Hill and to keep in consistent communication with their representatives to make sure they remember credit union priorities. He pointed out that credit unions could not compete with the money from the bank lobby, but he said persistence in writing, calling and visiting members of Congress pays off.
Connolly spoke about banker attacks on the credit union tax exemption, saying “it doesn’t even pass the ‘giggle test’ that you represent a competitive threat to [banks].” He explained that the “top 10” expenditures on the theoretical chopping block for tax code reform are too “problematic” to eliminate and that the tax exemption is at risk as a symbolic cut.
“Vigilance, right now, is critical – it’s not because someone is really gunning for you, it’s because they’ve got to find something,” he said.
Connolly also spoke in favor of raising the member business lending cap, saying: “It helps the consumers, it helps small businesses, it helps the economy, why wouldn’t we do it?”
NAFCU Congressional Caucus