The deadline for Senators to submit their contributions to the Senate Finance Committee’s Blank Sheet of Paper approach has come and gone. Only a handful of senators have made their letters public, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Richard Shelby (R-AL). The Rubio and Nelson letters are posted on the
Don't Tax My Credit Union Resource page and the Shelby one will be available once officially made public.
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) released his letter Monday and it includes a specific call for the retention of the credit union tax status. Sen. Begich says, “Alaska is far removed from traditional financial centers, and credit unions play an outsized role in our economy. That is why Section 501(c)(14), which grants tax exempt status to credit unions, should be retained in any tax reform effort, to ensure continued access to affordable credit for consumers, homebuyers, and small businesses alike, all of which contribute substantially to economic growth."
Sen. Begich’s letter is, by all accounts, the most comprehensive letter made public so far. None of the other letters the League has seen go into deep detail with respect to specific tax expenditures to keep or eliminate; rather, almost all either discuss the goals of tax policy from a high level or advocate for specific tax plans that have been previously introduced by the senator. For example, Sen. Christopher Murphy’s (D-CT) letter urges the committee to protect the poor and the middle class by eliminating all expenditures that hurt working-class families; Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) proposed that tax reform be revenue neutral and that the tax rate not exceed 26 percent; Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) proposed a flat tax of 17 percent. The League and CUNA understand that many senators will seek to keep their letters private, and that the committee has gone to great lengths to accommodate this request. As the League receives additional letters, they will be posted on the Don't Tax My Credit Union Resource page. With this information collection process complete, it is now safe to say that the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are both in bill writing mode. The expectation is that each committee could release drafts of their bills in the early fall. This means that August in-district advocacy efforts are now very important.