This week, the House of Representatives will take up a tax extenders package to prevent the Bush tax cuts of ’01 and ’03 from expiring at the end of the year.
Earlier this month, C4L called on the House Ways & Means Committee to include full repeal of the estate tax (AKA – the death tax) in their tax package.
Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner and House Leadership have signaled the package will simply be an extension of the current rates – for the death tax, that means keeping the rate at 35% for those with an estate valued at over $5 million.
Now, compared to the 55% tax on estates valued over $1 million, which the death tax would fall back to if the current rates aren’t extended, that doesn’t sound too bad.
But when compared with H.R. 1259, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act, such a continuation of the status quo falls flat on its face.
The Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act is a bill Campaign for Liberty has been supporting alongside a coalition of family businesses and outside organizations committed to lower taxes and limited government.
Some may reply that “their families can afford it,” or “they’re just paying their fair share.”
But let’s be honest.
Aside from the hidden inflation tax, the death tax is one of the most insidious, immoral taxes forced on some Americans. Death should not be a taxable event, especially not on wealth that has already been taxed by the government throughout the individual’s life.
And as our out-of-control government grows deeper in debt every day, what’s to stop them from lowering the threshold to require more Americans to pay up?
Simply put – “No taxation without respiration!”
The death tax is also a poor revenue raiser, as it really only affects those who either a) died unexpectedly, or b) didn’t have enough money to hire lawyers to learn how to shield their wealth from the death tax by putting it in various trusts, etc.
A newly released report from the Joint Economic Committee Republicans, called “Costs and Consequences of the Federal Estate Tax,” shows that since its creation nearly 100 years ago, the death tax has raised less than $1.3 trillion in total revenue.
To put that in perspective, that’s roughly the size of Washington’s budget deficit for the year 2011 alone!
The bill has received bipartisan support from half the House of Representatives, and if it came to the floor for a standalone vote, it would pass the House.
That’s why Speaker Boehner’s position on the tax extender’s package is so difficult to stomach.
We’re missing a terrific chance to either get rid of the death tax or to hold those who vote to continue it accountable!
Last week, the Senate passed their preferred version of a tax extenders package.
The death tax provision was stripped out, meaning Senate Democrats have publicly staked out their position at a 55% rate, even higher than President Obama’s preferred 45% rate on estates valued over $3.5 million.
The 112th Congress features one of the strongest Republican majorities in history in the House, yet House Leadership appears to have already yielded the field on death tax repeal.
If House Leadership refuses to hold a vote on full repeal of the death tax, the debate will be locked in between a rate of 35% and 55%, meaning in the end, we’d likely end up with a 45% rate - one of the highest death tax rates in the world!
That’s why it’s vital C4L members take action and call on House Leadership to hold a standalone vote on H.R. 1259, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act.
Each year, the death tax results in the closing of America’s family farms and the loss of small family businesses.
At a time when America’s economy so desperately needs a boost, eliminating the economic uncertainty related to the death tax will provide stability for America’s small business community.
Contact your representative today with a simple message: urge Speaker Boehner and House Leadership to hold a standalone vote on H.R. 1259, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act!
It’s vital Congress knows there are grassroots Americans who support full repeal and want them to show some backbone on this important issue.
If a standalone vote were held on H.R. 1259, it’d be sure to pass, placing Harry Reid’s Senate in the precarious situation of having to defend stealing from America’s family farming and business community.