Report from AWRF Government Affairs

On Wednesday, July 22, 1010, U.S. death tax repeal was rejected 39 – 59 in the Senate.  Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) introduced a measure that forced the vote.

Senators Lincoln (D-AR) and Nelson (D-NE) joined 37 republicans in voting for repeal.

Other democrats who previously had voted for repeal but who voted against it this time were Senators Baucus (D-MT), Voinovich (R-OH), Wyden (D-OR), Nelson (D-FL), Snowe (D-ME), Collins (D-ME), Specter (D-PA), Landrieu (D-LA) and Feinstein (D-CA).

The best option remaining is a compromise offered by Senators Kyl (R-AZ) and Lincoln which would exempt $5 million per individual with a maximum rate of 35%.This concept was previously offered as an amendment to the Small Business Lending Bill, but was blocked by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) who favors a $3.5 million exemption with a 45% tax. It appears that he is working behind the scenes to allow repeal to expire in 2011–sticking small business with a $1 million exemption at a 55% rate. Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin predicts that the U.S.A. will lose an additional 500,000 jobs if Congress irresponsibly allows the repeal to expire at the end of 2010.

In 2009 the Senate passed a measure allowing the $5 million exemption a 35% tax rate. At that time the bill had bipartisan support.

J. Barry Epperson

General Counsel


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