Save the estate tax | Arkansas Blog

Save the estate tax

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A Republican lackey apparently is expected to propose an amendment Thursday to further reduce or eliminate the estate tax. A pro-estate tax group -- backed by the likes of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates' father -- alerts me to the action in an e-mail on the jump. Presumably, our Senator Lincoln will be doing her usual work for the Waltons and wealthy farmers in fighting to further dilute an estate tax that is already far from burdensome on her favored constituencies. Check it out.

Remember, in a typical year, only a few dozen estates in Arkansas are taxed. Transfers to spouses aren't taxed at all, no matter the amount. Don't believe the hype.

Dear supporter of United for a Fair Economy or Responsible Wealth,

On Thursday, Senator Kyl is expected to offer an amendment to cut the estate tax. It will be offered during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on tax legislation to be included in the Farm Bill.  

We do not know what Kyl's amendment will be.  The amendment may exempt all farms from the estate tax, which would likely hurt farmers (see farm talking points below). Or Kyl may offer an amendment that he proposed earlier this year to raise the estate tax exemption to $5 million ($10 million per couple) and lower the estate-tax rate to 35 percent.  The vote is likely to happen during the Finance Committee's hearing, beginning Thursday at 3:30pm.  

Please call now:
1-800-830-5738, toll-free.

Step 1: Call 1-800-830-5738 and ask the Capitol Switchboard operator to connect you to your two Senators' offices.

Step 2: Call your two Senators.  Deliver this message to the staffer who answers the phone:
[If your Senator IS on the Finance Committee (see list below)]: Oppose Kyl's amendment to cut the estate tax. Cutting the estate tax is NOT a tax cut for the middle class or for farmers. Cutting the estate tax is the wrong priority for our country.

[If your Senator is NOT on the Finance Committee]: Ask your Senator to talk with Senators who are on the Finance Committee and tell them, Oppose Kyl's amendment to cut the estate tax. Cutting the estate tax is NOT a tax cut for the middle class or for farmers.  Cutting the estate tax is the wrong priority for our country.

Please forward this alert to people you know.

Thanks for taking action,

Lee Farris
Senior Organizer on Estate Tax Policy
United for a Fair Economy
29 Winter St., Boston, MA 02108
617-423-2148 x133
<lfarris@faireconomy.org>

For more info on the estate tax:
http://ent.groundspring.org/EmailNow/pub.php?module=URLTracker&cmd=track&j=166406652&u=1648365

Farm Talking Points, from CBPP <http://ent.groundspring.org/EmailNow/pub.php?module=URLTracker&cmd=track&j=166406652&u=1648366> :
An amendment to exempt all farms from the estate tax, with no limit on the farm value:  
* Would likely prove extremely costly because it would create strong incentives for wealthy individuals to convert large amounts of their estates into qualifying farmland.
* Could undermine its own goals. If wealthy individuals seeking to shield assets from the estate tax bid up the price of farmland, that would make it more difficult for genuine family farmers to keep their farms in their families and could discourage people of ordinary means from entering farming.

In contrast, a broad-based reform like making permanent the current estate tax exemption ($4 million per couple):  
* Would protect virtually all farm estates from tax, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.
* Would be far simpler, more administrable, and less open to abuse, and would not have unintended negative consequences for family farmers.

Senators on Finance Committee (in order by state):
COMMITTEE CHAIR: MAX BAUCUS, D-MT
BLANCHE LINCOLN, D-AR
JON KYL, R-AZ
KEN SALAZAR, D-CO
CHARLES GRASSLEY, R-IA
MIKE CRAPO, R-ID
PAT ROBERTS, R-KS
JIM BUNNING, R-KY
JOHN KERRY, D-MA
OLYMPIA SNOWE, R-ME
DEBBIE STABENOW, D-MI
TRENT LOTT, R-MS
KENT CONRAD, D-ND
JEFF BINGAMAN, D-NM
JOHN ENSIGN, R-NV
CHARLES SCHUMER, D-NY
GORDON SMITH, R-OR
RON WYDEN, D-OR
ORRIN HATCH, R-UT
MARIA CANTWELL, D-WA
JOHN ROCKEFELLER IV, D-WV

Please call now:
1-800-830-5738, toll-free.
=====================


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