Still mulling over which design to use on your orange, round gourd this Halloween? Instead of going with the pedestrian witch, ghost or zombie template on your pumpkin, go for something really scary and warn trick-or-treaters about the dangers of credit union taxation.
Travis Credit Union ($2.1 billion, Vacaville, CA) may have started a pop culture movement with its tongue-in-cheek Halloween video that showed viewers exactly how you could carve your own logo’ed “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” pumpkin.
Travis Credit Union told Credit Unions Online that one crafty employee spearheaded the initiative, printing a “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” logo sheet and handedly transferring it onto a pumpkin to create a frightful scene. The entire process was documented on video so that everyone can have their own special pumpkin with a message.
The video begins with ghoulish laughter and the words, “Take away our tax exemption? Now that’s scary!”
The employee goes through step-by-step, how to make your own “Don’t Take My Credit Union” pumpkin by first laying the template on the front of the pumpkin and securing it (possibly) with tape.
Using a small tool such as a tiny screwdriver, the employee pokes holes around the pattern words to create a map for carving. The paper is peeled away, revealing the pattern and then the real frightful fun begins!
For this pumpkin, Travis Credit Union used an electric hand tool that skimmed away the pumpkin skin, allowing for more precision and overall ease of use. No messy seeds or pumpkin pulp to handle with this fun craft!
When the credit union employee was finished, a three-dimensional version of “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” is revealed and excess pumpkin is brushed away.
Although credit unions pay local, state and payroll tax, they are not beholden to pay federal taxes because of their not-for-profit status. Any profits credit unions make are returned back to the membership in the form of lower (or no) fees and better rates. Banks have recently complained that credit union non-profit status gives the industry an unfair advantage and that credit unions have diverted from their original intent of serving those of modest means.
Truthfully, credit union popularity has exploded in recent times and more people from a variety of income levels are seeking a credit union as their primary financial institution. Following the recession, consumers from all walks of life suffered financial loss, pushing many to adopt a more frugal lifestyle. Consumers looked for ways to save money without sacrificing quality and service and found this within the credit union industry.
Although many have left big banks and have switched to a credit union, there is no evidence that credit unions are crushing the banking industry’s opportunity to grow. According to BECU ($11.4 billion, Seattle, WA) total credit union market share is 6%, whereas banks take up 81% of the market.
What should be extremely scary to not only members but also all consumers is that if the 1934 Federal Credit Union Act is overturned and credit unions have to pay federal taxes, 150,000 jobs will be lost and an overall net loss of $15 billion in federal income tax will be realized over the next decade.
Additionally, if the recent government shut down didn’t make Americans vulnerable enough, changing the Federal Credit Union Act will have an immediate impact on the 5.5 million active and inactive military members. The Military Coalition’s letter to Congress stated that removing federal tax exemption “would be to the detriment of our armed forces members and their families and, in the long term, to military readiness."
Unfortunately, the threat is not a creepy tale told around a campfire to drum up more scares on Halloween. This threat is real. Show your support by carving your own “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” pumpkin and share a photo with us!By Gina Ragusa