June 23, 2006

The House has voted repeatedly to end the estate tax and they came one step closer Thursday when they reached a “compromise” with Democrats that is nothing less than a virtual repeal of the tax. While the bill does not end the estate tax altogether, the tax becomes a vestige of its former self. All but about 5000 estates would be exempt from paying any estate taxes at all since individuals could leave up to five million dollars and couples ten million dollars to their heirs tax free. On top of this, although larger estates would still pay tax, rates would drop to those that investors pay for capital gains, currently fifteen percent. Estates worth twenty five million or more will pay double this number.

Forty three democrats crossed party lines and voted to restrict the tax. It may bring you comfort to know that two republican representatives crossed the party line and voted against the bill, don’t get your hopes up. They objected not to the fiscal irresponsibility of borrowing money in order to support this tax cut, but to the fact that the compromise went too far. As it will still cost the treasury roughly sixty billion dollars a year, or roughly 80% as much as simply ending the tax altogether, I say the compromise didn’t go nearly far enough.

Interested in how your representative voted? Click here to see the complete roll call of the vote to pass the Permanent Estate Relief Act.

Democratic Senators crossing party lines to vote in favor of the act:

Abercrombie (HI) Baird (WA) Barrow (GA)
Bean (IL) Berry (AR) Bishop (GA) Boren (OK)
Boswell (IA) Boucher (VA) Boyd (FL) Cardoza (C)
Chandler (KY) Clay(MO) Costa (CA) Costello (IL)
Cramer Cuellar (TX) Davis (TN) Edwards (TX)
Filner (CA) Ford (TN) Foxx Gordon (TN)
Herseth (SD) Hinojosa (TX) Jefferson (LA)
Larsen (WA) McIntyre (NC) Melancon (LA)
Mollohan(WV) Peterson (MN)Rahall (WV)
Ruppersberger (MD) Salazar (CO) Scott (GA)
Skelton (MO) Tanner (TN) Thompson (CA) Wynn (MD)

Republican Senators crossing party lines to vote against the act:

Doolittle (CA) Tiahrt (KS)

Now the bill will go back to the Senate. With the new compromise and the additional sweeteners, there is no guarantee that the Senate will once again vote to uphold the estate tax. Click here to contact your senators and make sure they vote the right way, saying no to the Permanent Estate Relief Act.


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