Reform, Don't Repeal Estate Tax

Responsible Wealth For Immediate Release - May 22, 2002
Contact: Betsy Leondar-Wright – United for a Fair Economy - (617) 423-2148, ext. 13

Reform, Don't Repeal Estate Tax

Responsible Wealth Warns Senate That Repeal Bill "Comes with a High Price"

As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on estate tax legislation, Responsible Wealth (RW) warned Congress that the repeal proposal (Gramm-Kyl bill) would give a tax cut for multi-millionaires and billionaires at the expense of 99% of Americans. Responsible Wealth also warned that the legislation could have a devastating impact on funding for Social Security, Medicare, education and homeland security, as well as on state budgets.

“It is unfair and irresponsible to target tax relief to just 6,000 wealthy people at the expense of millions of hard-working taxpayers,” said Chuck Collins, co-founder of Responsible Wealth, a national network of affluent Americans advocating shared prosperity. “A vote for this legislation does nothing to address the concerns and needs of ordinary citizens, who are much more interested in prescription drugs for seniors, improving schools, and reinforcing Social Security and Medicare against tremendous strains coming from retiring baby boomers.”
Responsible Wealth’s ads opposing complete repeal appeared in Roll Call on Monday, May 20, and in the New York Times op-ed page today.

Responsible Wealth is working with Americans for a Fair Estate Tax and others to lobby Congress to support bills that permanently reform the tax to help family farms, small businesses and exempt more than 99 percent of Americans. A letter from Responsible Wealth arrived at every Senator’s office today.

Under current law, estates of up to $3.5 million for any individual or $7 million for a couple will be exempt from any estate tax when the reforms are fully phased in by 2009. The proposal in the Senate would permanently repeal the tax and would cost an additional $60 billion a year. This provides relief to an extremely limited number of Americans. For example, just 24 estates in Maine, 54 estates in Louisiana, and 129 estates in Missouri would receive relief.

Responsible Wealth is also concerned that the legislation would have an adverse effect on charitable giving. In fact, the U.S. Treasury has estimated that repeal would result in a decrease of up to $6 billion annually in charitable giving.

Responsible Wealth is a national network of business owners, investors and affluent Americans concerned about deepening economic inequality. RW is affiliated with United for a Fair Economy. Last year RW sponsored the Call to the Preserve the Estate Tax, signed by 1,100 people personally affected by the estate tax, including Bill Gates, Sr., George Soros, Paul Newman, and hundreds of small business owners.