By: Alex Ayers
As “taxmageddon” approaches with the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts in January, a coalition of non-profit groups and conservative Republican lawmakers is pushing for permanent repeal of the estate tax, and putting politicians of both parties on the record as to whether they support full repeal.
Republican leadership has seemed hesitant to focus on any particular aspect of the tax-cut extension battle, favoring a simple extension of the tax cuts, which would hold the estate tax rate at its current 35 percent. If the tax cuts are allowed to expire in January, the rate would skyrocket to 55 percent — putting the United States’ rate among the highest in the world economy.
In a July 17 letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner obtained by The Daily Caller, the Family Business Coalition — which includes The 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, The Club for Growth, the National Taxpayers Union, the American Conservative Union and others, including a number of industry groups — voiced support for the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act, which currently has 217 cosponsors, including Democrats and 19 members of the 22 Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee. The act, sponsored by Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, was introduced in late March 2011 and will likely have 218 co-sponsors by the end of this week.
In a July 13 letter to House leadership, Republican Rep. Austin Scott, president of the freshman class, vocalized the class’ support for the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act. In the letter, Scott recognized “that current policy may need to be extended temporarily,” but insisted that the vote be brought to the floor to show voters that the GOP is serious about the repealing the unpopular tax and to “lay the groundwork for future tax discussions.”
“It is important to us, and to our constituents to show that we stand for full repeal of the death tax,” Scott added.
The estate tax is a tax on the property of Americans who have died. It has become a favorite villain for supply-side economists, who maintain that taxing Americans’ savings after they die amounts to double taxation, and removes incentives for saving instead of spending.
Sole proprietorships and other small businesses, they say, lack the tools to protect their assets like their bigger competitors can.
Proponents of the federal estate tax argue that it is an important source of government revenue and a barrier against the development of an American ruling class
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