Burgess Letter to WSJ: It’s Time to Tax Credit Unions

The tax code shouldn’t pick winners and losers, and businesses performing the same service should face the same rules, ABA Chairman Ken Burgess wrote in a letter to the Wall Street Journal posted today. The letter was in response to a Dec. 5 article highlighting the fact that credit unions were left out of the tax reform bill.

“At a time when Congress is asking everyone from teachers to homeowners to give up tax breaks in the name of lowering rates, why is the trillion-dollar credit-union industry still getting a free ride?” wrote Burgess, chairman of FirstCapital Bank of Texas in Midland, Texas.

Burgess added that today’s credit unions look nothing like those of the 1930s, when Congress first exempted them from federal income tax and noted that there are now 282 credit unions with more than $1 billion in assets.

“These fast-growing and increasingly complex institutions are larger than 88 percent of the banks in this country, advertise that they are just like banks, take any customer who walks in the door (openly promoting that fact), devote significant resources to complex commercial lending and aggressively market to attract the affluent,” he said. “It’s time for Congress to end the uneven playing field and require the nation’s billion-dollar credit unions to pay their fair share.”