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Death Tax

June 8, 2006

June 8, 2006

Mr. ENZI: Mr. President, I want to take this opportunity to voice my support for H.R. 8, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act. Since coming to the Senate, I have continuously supported the repeal of this burdensome and unfair tax and am also a proud cosponsor of S. 420, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act and S. 988, the Jobs Protection and Estate Tax Reform Act.

I believe the death tax is fundamentally unfair because it constitutes another layer of taxation. After years of paying state and federal income taxes and other taxes on property while trying to grow a business, the family must pay again at the time of death. This double taxation is unfair and should be eliminated. 

Many small, family-owned businesses throughout my state of Wyoming cannot afford to pay the tax, and are forced to close their doors. In addition, many landowners are forced to sell their property in order to afford paying this unfair tax and avoid passing on the costs to the next generation. Our country should encourage growth and investment, not force people to sell their assets. Families should not have to choose between paying taxes or operating their business just because a family member passed away. In Wyoming, we work hard, in pursuit of the American Dream, to create a better life for our children and grandchildren.  Yet, the death tax punishes this dream and the families who must pick up the pieces after losing a loved one.

The death tax not only hurts the families who are forced to pay the tax, it also hurts our overall economy. A Heritage Foundation study reports that repeal of this tax would create 482 jobs in Wyoming alone. While this number may not seem large to my colleagues from New York and California, 482 jobs would have a substantial economic impact for communities throughout my state. I believe we will see additional financial gains when businesses can continue their operations where previously they would have had to shut their doors. 

The death tax forces families to spend thousands of dollars on estate planning. By forcing individuals and families to use vital financial resources on estate planning, money is being taken away from the family business or the family farm. When we eliminate this tax, jobs will be saved and money will be devoted to economic growth rather than extensive estate planning costs.

I urge my colleagues to support the passage of H.R. 8 which offers relief to America’s hard working families. Eliminating the death tax will bring fairness to our tax code as well as encourage continued growth in our economy.

I yield the floor.