Groups Urge Congress to Put Needs of Average Americans Ahead of the Wealthiest 0.2%
Washington, D.C. – Americans for Tax Fairness and a diverse group of 72 other national organizations sent a letter today to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to oppose H.R. 1105, a bill that would repeal the federal estate tax. Eliminating the estate tax would give a huge tax break to the wealthiest Americans, blow a hole in the deficit, and slash revenue needed to protect critical programs and make new investments to create a more productive economy.
The letter states “The estate tax is a small step to level the playing field and create an economy that works for all. The arguments made for repealing the estate tax are fraudulent and cloak the real aim of this legislation, which is to provide a large tax cut to the wealthy. Today, the vast majority of deaths – 99.8% – do not trigger federal estate taxes, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). …It is a tax paid by billionaires and millionaires – no tax is paid on an estate worth less than $5.4 million for an individual and $10.9 million for a married couple. …Repealing the estate tax would lose $269 billion in revenues over 10 years, according to the JCT. This is an unnecessary giveaway to the richest Americans, but it would have a big impact on the country.”
The letter goes on to describe how the $269 billion in revenue lost by repealing the estate tax could be invested in ways that benefit all Americans, such as filling the $164 billion 10-year shortfall in the highway and mass transit trust funds or providing all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds with high-quality, publicly-funded preschool at a cost of $75 billion over 10 years.
The groups not only state their opposition to repealing the estate tax, they advocate for a stronger estate tax and cite recent polling data showing broad support for tax fairness. A Pew Research Center poll recently found that the primary complaint about the American tax system held by 79% of the public (and strongly held by 61% of the public) is that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes. A compilation of tax questions from polls in recent years offers more evidence of the Americans people’s desire for an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
A full copy of the letter sent by the coalition can be read here. A vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the estate tax could happen as early as Tax Day this week.
Americans for Tax Fairness is a diverse coalition of 425 national and state endorsing organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of members. The organization was formed on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. ATF is playing a central role in Washington and in the states on federal tax-reform issues.
Peter Knudsen, Communications Director, Americans for Tax Fairness
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