Three Items You Need to Know About Before Your Commute Tonight…

Did I get your attention?  Good.  Read on…

The opening salvo of tax reform has been fired – The Senate’s failure to pass “repeal and replace” legislation for the Affordable Care Act may trigger a quick pivot to an all-out effort to enact tax reform legislation by the end of the year.  Last week, the so-called “Big Six” — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) – released a joint statement on the status of their ongoing tax reform discussions. While the statement provides few substantive details of the tax reform plan the Big Six hope to agree upon, it does indicate that, with respect to the controversial border adjustment regime previously proposed by House Republican leaders, the negotiators “have decided to set this policy aside in order to advance tax reform.”  In more general terms, the statement indicates that the negotiators “are confident that a shared vision for tax reform exists, and are prepared for the two committees to take the lead and begin producing legislation for the President to sign.”  With respect to timing, the statement signals that the negotiators’ “expectation is for this legislation to move through the committees this fall, under regular order, followed by consideration on the House and Senate floors.”  The Alliance has been working the tax issue hard with members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee.  And while we’re confident that “repeal and replacement” of the fraternal exemption won’t be included in any tax bill that comes out of these Committees, we know that everything is on the table.  That means when legislation does emerge, we may need to broaden the scope of Alliance member engagement in the grassroots initiative to educate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate about the value and validity of our more than century-old exemption.  Bottom line: STAY TUNED!  The joint statement is provided in its entirety below and is available here.

Are your products perceived as “skimpy?” – Well, consumers’ perceptions of credit union products certainly are.  Check out this article from CU Times about the impact that such misperceptions have on our “kissin’ cousins” businesses and ask yourselves if your current members and prospects might share the same views about your society and fraternals in general.  (Hint: Based on the Alliance’s branding campaign consumer research, they do.)  More importantly, ask yourself how you can change that perception.  Want to learn more?  Attend the branding campaign presentation at the Alliance Annual Meeting next month in Phoenix.  Not registered yet?  It’s not too late.  Just click here and you can sign-up in minutes.

It’s about time! – According to another CU Times article, millennials are finally moving out of their parent’s basements, finding partners, and buying homes.  That’s good news for the financial institutions (like credit unions) who underwrite the mortgages on those homes.  But it’s also good news for life insurers (and fraternals) because home buying and family-starting are triggers for the purchase of life insurance.  These could be great times for those fraternals who have the governance, management, brand awareness, technology, products, distribution, capital and courage to take advantage of this pent-up demand!  Does your society have what it takes?

WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) issued the following joint statement on tax reform:

“For the first time in many years, the American people have elected a President and Congress that are fully committed to ensuring that ordinary Americans keep more of their hard-earned money and that our tax policies encourage employers to invest, hire, and grow. And under the leadership of President Trump, the White House and Treasury have met with over 200 members of the House and Senate and hundreds of grassroots and business groups to talk and listen to ideas about tax reform.

“We are all united in the belief that the single most important action we can take to grow our economy and help the middle class get ahead is to fix our broken tax code for families, small business, and American job creators competing at home and around the globe. Our shared commitment to fixing America’s broken tax code represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and so for three months we have been meeting regularly to develop a shared template for tax reform.

“Over many years, the members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have examined various options for tax reform. During our meetings, the Chairmen of those committees have brought to the table the views and priorities of their committee members. Building on this work, as well as on the efforts of the Administration and input from other stakeholders, we are confident that a shared vision for tax reform exists, and are prepared for the two committees to take the lead and begin producing legislation for the President to sign. 

“Above all, the mission of the committees is to protect American jobs and make taxes simpler, fairer, and lower for hard-working American families. We have always been in agreement that tax relief for American families should be at the heart of our plan. We also believe there should be a lower tax rate for small businesses so they can compete with larger ones, and lower rates for all American businesses so they can compete with foreign ones. The goal is a plan that reduces tax rates as much as possible, allows unprecedented capital expensing, places a priority on permanence, and creates a system that encourages American companies to bring back jobs and profits trapped overseas. And we are now confident that, without transitioning to a new domestic consumption-based tax system, there is a viable approach for ensuring a level playing field between American and foreign companies and workers, while protecting American jobs and the U.S. tax base. While we have debated the pro-growth benefits of border adjustability, we appreciate that there are many unknowns associated with it and have decided to set this policy aside in order to advance tax reform.

“Given our shared sense of purpose, the time has arrived for the two tax-writing committees to develop and draft legislation that will result in the first comprehensive tax reform in a generation. It will be the responsibility of the members of those committees to produce legislation that achieves the goals shared broadly within Congress, the Administration, and by citizens who have been burdened for too long by an outdated tax system. Our expectation is for this legislation to move through the committees this fall, under regular order, followed by consideration on the House and Senate floors. As the committees work toward this end, our hope is that our friends on the other side of the aisle will participate in this effort. The President fully supports these principles and is committed to this approach. American families are counting on us to deliver historic tax reform. And we will.”

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