Pomeroy, Nat'l Farmers Union oppose permanent repeal of estate tax

Americans for a Fair Estate Tax
1742 Connecticut Ave., N.W. • Washington, D.C. 20009 • (202) 234-8494

For immediate release: June 17, 2003
Contact: Alex Behrend, (202) 319-3020, cell (703) 732-5087

“Aid low-income kids, not multi-millionaire heirs”

Rep. Pomeroy, Bill Gates, Sr., National Farmers Union oppose H.R. 8, permanent repeal of the estate tax

More background on the estate tax

Washington, D.C. – On Capitol Hill today, Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D, ND) and prominent estate tax reform supporters urged the House of Representatives not to pass H.R. 8, which removes the sunset from the currently temporary repeal of the federal estate tax in 2010. The bill, a giveaway to the heirs of multimillionaires that would eliminate a trillion dollars of federal revenue over the next 20 years, is expected to come to a vote tomorrow or Thursday.

Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), House Ways and Means Committee member, is the author of a Democratic alternative plan for estate tax reform. The House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider Rep. Pomeroy’s legislation the afternoon of June 17, and floor votes are expected Wednesday June 18 or Thursday June 19.

William H. Gates, Sr., co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, board member of the United Way of America, and co-author with Chuck Collins of Wealth and the Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes, spoke of the importance of the estate tax to funding charity.

“We should not underestimate the role of federally-funded research in creating the bedrock for wealth creation and the quality of life we enjoy. What also makes America great is the broad ownership of property and enterprise. We all succeed to the extent that children are born without vast disparities in access to education, health care and opportunity. We are weakened when our policymakers are more concerned with preserving existing wealth and power rather than creating avenues for new asset creation and opportunity.”

Tom Buis, Vice-President of Governmental Relations of the National Farmers Union, spoke on behalf of the NFU’s 300,000 farmers and ranchers in favor of estate tax reforms to benefit farmers.

"Repeal proponents continue to use farmers and ranchers as pawns in a high stakes fight to gain substantial tax reductions for the wealthiest individuals in America."

Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea and a member of Responsible Wealth, gave out his bottled iced tea as he explained his support for a tax his children may someday pay.

“I hope that someday our business will reach the level where my children will feel the pinch of paying the estate tax. But should we be fortunate enough to feel that pleasant pinch, it won't compare to the pinch felt by the 12 million low-income children left out of the massive tax cut enacted earlier this month. The claim that the estate tax will be a disincentive for small business owners just doesn't seem honest. We are working to create opportunities for ourselves and our families. If we ever get to the point when we have to worry about an estate tax, then we've successfully created those opportunities."

Americans for a Fair Estate Tax is a broad-based non-partisan coalition of nonprofit groups advocating for estate tax reform that would ensure that family farms and small businesses are protected while keeping 98 percent of taxpayers exempt.

The Fair Taxes For All Coalition is a massive coalition of organizations including People For the American Way, National Women's Law Center, AFSCME, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, USAction, United for a Fair Economy, and the Campaign for America’s Future. More than 300 national, state and local groups and coalitions – together representing millions of Americans – have pledged to defeat Bush Administration tax proposals that would take resources from health care, education, Social Security, and homeland security in order to give massive tax breaks to the very wealthiest Americans.