Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia

TIME TO END THE DEATH TAX’S HOLD ON FAMILY BUSINESSES, FARMS, AND RANCHES

Mar 27, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia), Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD), and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) are calling on Congress to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, which takes up to 40% of a person’s property (cash, real estate, stock, or other assets) that he or she leaves to his or her children. Also referred to as the “death tax,” it punishes success and traditional American virtues of hard work and thrift. According to the Tax Foundation, repealing the estate tax would create 39,000 new jobs and boost federal revenue.

“I have heard from farmers, funeral home owners, newspaper publishers, radio station owners, and garment manufacturers about the need for estate tax relief. I believe that the estate tax is politically misguided, morally unjustified and downright un-American,” said Congressman Bishop. “It undermines the life work and the life savings of farmers and small- and medium-sized businesses in Georgia and across the nation.”

“Imposing a tax rate as high as 40 percent on savings is not just bad for the economy, it’s unfair to families that have saved and built job-creating small businesses in their local communities,” said Senator Thune. “Currently more than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation, and 90 percent of family businesses do not survive to the third generation. This legislation will finally give farmers, ranchers and family business owners the peace of mind of knowing that they no longer have to spend substantial sums on planning to minimize their death tax liability. I believe there is now a majority in both the House and the Senate who agree with us that the death tax punishes a lifetime of hard work and I hope to see movement in both chambers on this legislation this year.”

“The Death Tax is still the number one reason family-owned farms and businesses in America aren’t passed down to the next generation,” said Congressman Brady, a senior member of the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee and lead House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. “It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and hurts the wrong people. After a family loses a loved one, why should Uncle Sam swoop in and take much of the nest egg they spent a lifetime building? Especially when it forces the survivors to take out loans or sell their land or business just to try to keep some of what they worked so hard to earn. I have families in my district that have paid this tax multiple times on the same property. They deserve better.”

“The death tax creates an unfair situation for minority businesses which have primarily started to accumulate wealth within the last 60 years. Many minority-owned family businesses are first-generation businesses, where children work alongside their parents. These business owners do not want to sell out at fire-sale prices to pay the estate tax and eliminate the livelihoods for the next generation in addition to the jobs for those whom they employ,” said Harry Alford, the president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

“This level of taxation continues to pose a serious threat to the likelihood that present-day African American-owned businesses can be preserved as part of a family’ long-term legacy. Full repeal of the estate tax would allow African Americans to pass the full fruits of their business success to the next generation and thereby laying the foundation for a permanent minority ownership class that can contribute to the economic growth and development of the United States economy,” said Robert Johnson, Founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET).

The National Black Chamber of Commerce’s Harry Alford, the 60 Plus Association’s James Martin, Reliable Contracting’s Patricia Baldwin and the South Dakota Cattleman’s Association’s Todd Wilkinson also participating in the news conference in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Hearing Room.

To view a picture from the press conference, please click here.

Links to Bios of the participants

U.S. Representatives Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia)

U.S. Representatives Kevin Brady (R-Texas)

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD)

Harry Alford, National Black Chamber of Commerce

Patricia Baldwin, Reliable Contracting

James Martin, 60 Plus Association

Todd Wilkinson, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association

 

###

Issues: