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All the President’s Tax Hikes

By Sen. John Thune

March 31, 2023

President Reagan once quipped that, “Democrats believe every day is April 15,” and the Biden administration’s reckless tax-and-spend agenda proves that the Gipper’s words still ring true today. After two years of adding trillions to the debt, fueling a multi-year inflation crisis, and increasing taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, the president recently proposed hiking taxes another $4.7 trillion. This is the wrong prescription for our economy and our country.

Anybody who looks at the federal budget can see the problem is spending too much, not taxing too little. Yet, three consecutive budgets from the president have proposed greater spending and higher taxes. The president’s latest plan would raise taxes on American workers and businesses, double down on the $80 billion already given to the IRS, and ultimately do little for working families. These proposed tax hikes would reverse the gains made by Republicans’ 2017 tax reform effort by making the American economy less competitive, and they would make our economy weaker by lowering wages, stifling job creation, and decreasing economic growth.

Republicans have had success preventing President Biden and Democrats from enacting much of their reckless tax agenda. Last year, the Senate adopted my amendment to protect small businesses from one of these ill-conceived tax plans. Another amendment I authored last Congress, which also passed the Senate, blocked President Biden’s proposal to subject family-run businesses to a tax on unrealized gains when the owner dies and passes it on to the next generation. This tax would have been devastating for family farms and ranches.

South Dakota farmers and ranchers often dream of passing their operations to the next generation in their family, but burdensome tax policy can make it untenable. I’m glad to have protected farmers and ranchers from the president’s tax hike proposal, but more needs to be done. One common-sense idea is to permanently repeal the death tax because it’s fundamentally flawed. The money left in an estate when a person dies has already been taxed at least once, but the death tax allows the federal government to take another cut.

The death tax impacts family farms, ranches, and small businesses, which are often cash-poor operations. A farm or ranch may be valued at several million dollars, but most of that could be tied up in equipment and land, not money in the bank. The result is that families may have to sell all or most of these assets just to cover their tax bill. I’ve supported repealing this unnecessary tax throughout my time in Congress, and I’m proud that my recently reintroduced bill to repeal it has support from nearly all Senate Republicans. One family farm lost to the death tax is one too many.

Neither higher taxes nor greater spending is the right approach, and together they would only prolong the economic headwinds that are straining family budgets today. I’ll continue working to protect South Dakota families, farmers, ranchers, and small businesses from burdensome taxes that get in the way of achieving the American dream.