Gates, Sr., Soros, 100 Others Oppose Estate Tax Repeal

Press Release
For Immediate Release - February 14, 2001
Contact:Betsy Leondar-Wright
(617) 423-2148 x113">

Bill Gates, Sr., George Soros, Steven Rockefeller, 100 Others
Oppose Estate Tax Repeal

Repealing the estate tax "would be a terrible mistake," equivalent to "choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics."

–Warren Buffett in this morning’s New York Times

Over 100 prominent business and philanthropic leaders today issued a joint statement, covered on the front page of today’s New York Times, opposing President Bush’s proposed repeal of the estate tax. Signers include William H. Gates, Sr.; George Soros; Steven C. Rockefeller and other members of the Rockefeller family; Ben Cohen; art patron Agnes Gund; other philanthropists; and members of Responsible Wealth with both new entrepreneurial wealth and old inherited wealth. (See statement and partial signer list below.)

Conference call: Responsible Wealth will host an opportunity for journalists to interview Bill Gates, Sr., Chuck Collins of United for a Fair Economy, and other critics of estate tax repeal on Tuesday, February 20 at 1 p.m. EST. Some signers of the statement are also available for one-on-one interviews.

"Repealing the estate tax would leave an unfortunate legacy for America’s future generations," the signers warn. Repeal would undermine philanthropy and "would enrich the heirs of America’s millionaires and billionaires while hurting families who struggle to make ends meet." The signers say, "Let’s fix the estate tax, not repeal it." For more information, visit

Responsible Wealth is a national network of businesspeople, investors and affluent Americans concerned about deepening economic inequality and advocating widespread prosperity.


To register for Tuesday’s conference call,

please call (617) 423-2148 x113
or send an e-mail to">
or fax (617) 423-0196.

Registration deadline: Friday 2/16/01. We will send you instructions for joining the call.

NAME: ___________________________________________________

AFFILIATION: ______________________ PHONE: (____) ____ - ________

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A Call to Preserve the Estate Tax

We believe that complete repeal of the estate tax would be bad for our democracy, our economy, and our society. Repealing the estate tax, a constructive part of our tax structure for 85 years, would leave an unfortunate legacy for America’s future generations.

Only the richest 2 percent of our nation's families currently pay any estate tax at all. Repealing the estate tax would enrich the heirs of America’s millionaires and billionaires while hurting families who struggle to make ends meet.

The billions of dollars in state and federal revenues lost will inevitably be made up either by increasing taxes on those less able to pay or by cutting Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection, and many other government programs so important to our nation's continued well-being.

The estate tax exerts a powerful and positive effect on charitable giving. Repeal would have a devastating impact on public charities ranging from institutions of higher education and land conservancies to organizations that assist the poor and disadvantaged.

We recognize the importance of protecting America's family farms and small businesses, and the estate tax has many special provisions that do so. But this concern – the rationale usually advanced for eliminating the estate tax – can be addressed by amending the existing estate tax system.

Let’s fix the estate tax, not repeal it!


William H. Gates, Sr.
Steven C. Rockefeller
Eileen Rockefeller Growald
Robert Cook
Agnes Gund
Henry and Edith Everett
Peter Barnes
George Soros
Ben Cohen
Richard and Jing Lyman
Martin Rothenberg
Roger Rath
Mal Warwick
Katherine Pillsbury
David Rockefeller, Jr.
Judy Wicks
Mike Lapham
Carol Bernstein Ferry
Franklin and Jinx Roosevelt
Sarah Stranahan
and over 100 others