Yet another analysis of the Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Mark Pryor-endorsed) estate tax plan. It would cut taxes on a grand total of 60 "small" family farmers and businessmen. And understand that small means, where a married couple still lives, $7 million to $10 million in clear assets after deduction of all liabilities. We should all be so small. Her estate plan further would knock off 10 percent of the top marginal tax rate on ALL estates, a billion-dollar windfall to the richest members of the lucky sperm club.
And before you start moaning about land rich, cash poor farmers, give a gander at a little Fact Check.Org material on the estate tax. Apart from the ability to separate ownership among family members before death, apart from insurance, apart from all other schemes to defeat estate taxes, take note of the effective tax rate (and this was written back before the tax exempt portion of an estate more than doubled) and special treatment for farms. A 14-year payout on the taxes on a farm estate is allowed and, if a family agrees NOT to sell the farm for 10 years, they get a 40 to 70 percent reduction in the taxable amount of the estate.
And today, still more from the Blanche Lincoln tax-work-not-wealth and afflict-the-worker department. Republicans are touting a Huffington Post blog begging for labor to produce an opponent for Lincoln in the Democratic primary. Arkansas AFL-CIO chief Alan Hughes certainly didn't sound ready to go to war against Lincoln yesterday, however, in his somewhat conciliatory release on her repudiation of the Free Choice Act. Reality is that Lincoln, despite her support for farm welfare, billionaire bailouts and union bashing, is a generally moderate Democrat with a Senate position of some influence who isn't likely to be challenged successfully by any Democrat who might run. The high irony is that Republicans -- Republicans! -- are working over Blanche for being a friend to billionaires.
I think we'll know in a week if Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker will take up the fight for the Republican Party. A lot rests on Sen. Kim Hendren's decision on whether to run. Somebody from Conway can't win a Republican primary with a familiar candidate from Fortress NWA in the GOP primary.
And speaking of the Senate GOP primary: Ever heard of Curtis Coleman, a Little Rock businessman and Huckabee campaign stalwart? I heard that he might be an addition to the list of Republicans noising about a race against Lincoln.
MONEY UPDATE: The Lincoln campaign reports raising $1 million at that LR fund-raiser and more than $2 million on hand at the end of the first quarter of the year.
LINCOLN NEWS RELEASE
LITTLE ROCK (April 9, 2009) – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln’s re-election campaign committee will report more than $1.7 million in contributions for the first quarter of this year, including receipts
from a million dollar fund raiser in Little Rock on March 14, her campaign spokesman, Steve Patterson announced today.
Lincoln said she is “humbled and grateful for the overwhelming show of support from Arkansans who want to be a part of our campaign.”
“I have learned never to take this job for granted and when I asked for help to launch our campaign beginning last January, I could not have predicted this kind of response,” she said. “I am working to put Arkansans at the table when decisions are made about health care reform, energy reform and education. That’s what our campaign will be about.”
The first quarter performance leaves Lincoln’s campaign with cash on hand of nearly $2.3 million. The quarter featured Lincoln’s official kick-off event on March 14 in downtown Little Rock. After contributions toward that event were finally tabulated, total receipts eclipsed $1 million, according to the campaign.
The totals for the quarter include contributions from 1,250 individuals, 70 percent of whom are from Arkansas. They gave from $5 to $4800, the maximum allowed by federal law. The campaign took in $57,000 in online contributions during the first quarter, Patterson said.