Obsolete Death Tax Needs Repeal

Earlier this summer, I received the Benjamin Franklin Award from the 60-Plus Association in recognition of my support for estate tax repeal. Although I am honored to have the association’s support, I believe with a little common sense in Washington this award would be made obsolete, much like the death tax itself. This measure is a punitive tax that hurts job growth in Arkansas, particularly in agriculture, and has long overstayed its necessity after first being introduced nearly 100 years ago.

Ronald Reagan once famously said, “Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” First introduced after World War I to help repay massive war debts, this tax has held on to life for nearly a century. Those with experience running a family farm realize that this tax has a negative economic impact because of its punitive nature. With a debt ballooning to $17 trillion, repealing this tax should be a no-brainer.

The fact of the matter is, most family farms are capital-rich but cash poor, meaning most earnings are invested directly back into the business in the form of new equipment or infrastructure that will increase production. Encouraging this growth is the best way to get America back to work and improve our economy.

However, the death tax forces these family farms to sell off equipment or land in order to cobble together the massive amounts of cash required to pay back the government upon the death of the owner. Rather than encouraging families to grow their businesses across generations and create even greater value, this tax actually punishes success and causes family farms and businesses to be broken up and sold off. The cost in lost economic activity and jobs speaks for itself.

I continue to hear from Arkansans on the destructive nature of the death tax and the necessity for repeal. Currently, there is bipartisan support for repeal in the House, but we lack willing partners in the Senate and White House to get this done. I will continue to work with my colleagues for repeal to foster growth and job creation in Arkansas and across the country.

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Obsolete Death Tax Needs Repeal

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