Death Tax Repeal Dies in Senate
By George Anderson
Last year when the House of Representatives passed a bill calling for the permanent repeal of the estate tax (AKA the death tax), family-business owners and their representative organizations, such as the American Family Business Institute and the National Grocers Association (NGA), widely applauded the move.
As it turns out, the glee felt by those supporting the repeal was short-lived as the measure in the Senate failed to gain enough votes in that body to be made into law. The Senate vote, 57 to 41, was three votes shy of the number needed to move that body’s version along.
According to a report in The New York Times, Max Baucus, a Democratic Senator from Montana and supporter of the repeal, said, “It appears unlikely that we are going to change many senators’ minds on this issue. We will need time. It will take real effort. It will take real concessions.”
Concessions are not likely heading into the upcoming elections. Republicans are determining if they should push ahead for a compromise to achieve at least a modification of the tax or hold back to use it as an issue (such as the gay marriage amendment) against Democratic competitors.
Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican from New Hampshire, said, “It makes no sense that the United States, which should be a bastion of promotion for entrepreneurship and certainly a bastion that supports the family farm, the family restaurant, the family gas station, the family entrepreneur, is taxing those families at a rate which is higher than the French.” (Editors note: Kudos to Sen. Gregg for bringing the French into another national debate.)
Harry Reid, Senate minority leader and Democrat from Nevada, offered an opposing view. “The estate tax is an extremely costly tax for a wealthy few that comes at the expense of every other American born and yet to be born for decades to come.”
Moderator’s Comment: What are your views on the estate or death tax and its impact on family operators of various types of retail and other businesses?
– George Anderson – Moderator