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Thune, Brady: Time to End the Death Tax’s Hold on Family Businesses, Farms, and Ranches

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Washington, March 26, 2015 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, today held a bipartisan, bicameral press conference with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) calling on Congress to permanently repeal the death tax. Thune and Brady’s press conference highlighted yesterday’s passage in the House Ways and Means Committee of the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015. In addition, it highlighted expected action in the Senate where Thune offered an amendment to repeal the death tax (S.A. #608) to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget. Thune’s amendment is expected to receive a vote later today.

 Video of today’s press conference is available here and photos are available here.



“Imposing a tax rate as high as 40 percent on savings is not just bad for the economy, it’s unfair to families that have saved and built job-creating small businesses in their local communities,” said Thune. “Currently more than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation, and 90 percent of family businesses do not survive to the third generation. This legislation will finally give farmers, ranchers and family business owners the peace of mind of knowing that they no longer have to spend substantial sums on planning to minimize their death tax liability. I believe there is now a majority in both the House and the Senate who agree with us that the death tax punishes a lifetime of hard work and I hope to see movement in both chambers on this legislation this year.”

“The Death Tax is still the number one reason family-owned farms and businesses in America aren’t passed down to the next generation,” said Brady, a senior member of the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee and lead House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. “It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and hurts the wrong people. After a family loses a loved one, why should Uncle Sam swoop in and take much of the nest egg they spent a lifetime building? Especially when it forces the survivors to take out loans or sell their land or business just to try to keep some of what they worked so hard to earn. I have families in my district that have paid this tax multiple times on the same property. They deserve better.”

The death tax would impose a tax rate as high as 40 percent on family businesses, farms, and ranches, hurting economic growth by discouraging savings and small business development. Many studies, including one from the Joint Economic Committee, indicate that ending the estate tax would actually increase overall federal tax revenue by encouraging more investment. And according to a study by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million additional small business jobs and would shave almost a percentage point off the unemployment rate.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce’s Harry Alford, the 60 Plus Association’s James Martin, Reliable Contracting’s Patricia Baldwin, and the South Dakota Cattleman’s Association’s Todd Wilkinson also participated in today’s press conference.


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