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Death and Taxes

April 6, 2012

As tax day approaches, I am reminded of a quote by Benjamin Franklin: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

The loss of a loved one is an especially difficult time for family members. The grieving process becomes even more difficult and prolonged for heirs of family businesses, farms, and ranches as they face looming and often crippling death taxes when a death in the family occurs. More than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation, and 90 percent of family businesses do not survive to the third generation.

The federal government has no place forcing grieving families to pay a tax on their loved one's life savings or estate that have been built from income already taxed when it was initially earned. The death tax is an unnecessary, burdensome, and sometimes devastating double tax.

I recently introduced legislation that would repeal the federal estate tax and the generation skipping transfer tax. In a study, former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin found that repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million additional small business jobs. Therefore, my bill will not only ease the transition of assets, including small businesses, farms, and ranches to family members when an owner dies, it will also create hundreds of thousands jobs for unemployed Americans.

This tax punishes farmers and entrepreneurs for a lifetime of hard work. It is time to put a nail in the coffin of the death tax.