"Liberal advocacy groups are getting behind a bill authored by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) that would keep the tax in place at a lower exemption rate for estates than would legislation favored by lobbyists for farmers and small businesses.
Lee Farris, the senior organizer for estate tax policy for United for a Fair Economy, said her group supports the McDermott bill.
Farris said “it is a very different ballgame since Bush first came into the office.”
“We have just spent a huge amount bailing out Wall Street,” Farris said. “Now, it would be a lousy time to send even more money to the wealthy.” Other organizations, such as Citizens for Tax Justice and Results, an anti-poverty group, are also behind McDermott’s bill.
While the estate tax would lapse in 2010, it would return the following year to what it was before the Bush administration passed its first round of tax cuts in 2001 — a tax rate of 55 percent and an exemption for those with assets valued at $1 million or below at the time of their death. Current law has the tax rate at 45 percent and those with assets valued at or below $3.5 million earning an exemption.
If passed before Congress leaves this year, McDermott’s bill would permanently set up a $2 million exemption level and progressive tax rates for assets valued higher than that level. Farris believes the bill would yield the most government revenue, which could be used for healthcare reform and other federal programs."
Read the full article at The Hill online.