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Soundbite: The Death Tax is anti-family, anti-jobs and anti-American. This may be our once chance to kill the Death Tax dead and we need to fight for its complete elimination. While most people believe that this tax only affects the wealthy in fact victims often hit hardest by the Death Tax are middle-class, hard-working Americans - small business owners and employees, family farmers and ranchers.
Summary: For the first time in a generation, the American people received a significant tax cut when Congress passed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001. The tax cut contains many positive elements: it reduces marginal tax rates at every level over a period of years and is intended to eliminate the Death Tax. However, for all of its merit, the tax cut signed into law by President Bush suffers from one critical problem - it’s not permanent. Lacking the 60 votes in the Senate necessary to make the tax cut a permanent feature of law, the president was forced to settle for a 10-year tax cut that will expire in 2011. Before passage, the federal government confiscated 55 percent of every estate in excess of $1 million at time of death. The Bush tax cut will raise the applicable exclusion amount to $3.5 million over the next 8 years, and reduce the tax rate to 35 percent over the same period before the tax is completely repealed in 2010. But in 2011 the death tax reverts back to the same $1 million exclusion and 55 percent rate. Thus, unless the estate owner knows that he will die in 2010, last year’s Death Tax repeal has little or no value.
The moment has arrived to permanently repeal the Death Tax. In April, the House of Representatives legislation that will make the entire 2001 Bush tax cut permanent, including repeal of the Death Tax. Senate Majority Leader Daschle (D-SD) has thus far refused to allow the Senate to take up the legislation passed by the House. However, election year politics have forced the Senate Majority Leader to allow the Senate to vote on legislation that will permanently repeal the Death Tax before the July recess.
To allow this unfair tax to continue Democrats will have several amendments that only tinker with repeal. These amendments will raise the exemption or provide some exclusions for family farms and other constituencies. But any of these half-measures will only allow the Death Tax to rise again some other day. We need to pass the Gramm/Kyl amendment, which will provide for full and honest repeal of this egregious tax.
Call to Action: Call your Senator’s offices today. We recommend calling your local office - which you can find either online at www.cse.org or by calling 1-888-JOIN-CSE tell them the following:
** it is extremely important that we know where YOUR Senator stands on this issue. Please be sure to contact us with any correspondence (email, letters) or personal feedback that you may receive from the Senators or their offices.