by Max Brantley
We'd gotten a tip last night that House Republicans were now willing to settle for a huge reduction in the estate tax rather than outright repeal. Story is here. Some Key points.
It's a windfall for corporate timber owners, who will see the value of holdings taxed at a maximum rate of 15 percent. This will help the measure in Washington state , but we hear Arkansas has some pine trees, too. Sens. Lincoln and Pryor have pushed for this break previously.
It will all but eliminate state estate taxes, by elimination of an offset to the federal levy for a state levy. Arkansas already removed its estate tax, so this is no reason for either of Arkansas's senators to support the measure.
The individual exemption rises from $2 million to $5 million (from $4 to $10 million for couples.)
You can count on more misleading mewling from Lincoln about small businesses and farms. As if that's what this is about. (See Ernest Dumas' new column for more on that.)
This proposal, a seeming compromise, actually will reduce income by 75 percent of the cost of total repeal. That's because nearly all the savings go to the superwealthy, not "little people." That's who's been paying for the campaign to pass this legislation. It would be worth billions in savings to Walton heirs, the real beneficiaries of Lincoln's toil.