Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Where Ford Stands On The Estate Tax

Since the topic of the estate tax came up yesterday, I figured I would do a post on here to get Congressman Ford's stance on record for folks to read.

Below is a press release from 2005 that tells of Congressman Ford's plan to reform the estate tax:

Congressman Harold Ford announced today the introduction of new legislation to reduce the estate tax and ease the tax on family farms and small businesses being passed from one generation to the next without driving the nation further in debt.

"Family farms and small business are a cornerstone of our state and our country's economy. In addition to being the moral thing to do, it is critical to our economic security that we protect the ability to pass down the work of one generation to the next without crippling taxes," Ford said. "At the same time, we have to balance the budget without giving billionaires a 'tax-free' pass. This bill eases the taxes on farmers and businesses without driving our nation further in debt."

Ford's bill, the Estate Tax Fairness Act, relieves the estate tax burden on farmers and small business people by raising the exemption on estates subject to the tax from $1.5 million to $7.5 million for individuals and from $3 to $15 million for couples. In addition, the bill reduces the tax rate on amounts above the exemption from 47 percent to 27.5 percent.

Ford's legislation would protect 99 percent of Tennessee farmers -- between 87,000 and 88,000 -- from the estate tax, according to the US Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service's 2002 Census of Agriculture, the most recent data available. Ford's legislation would protect 99 percent of Tennessee farms.

An alternative bill supported by the House leadership, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005, would permanently repeal the estate tax. The revenue loss from that proposal has been put as high as $290 billion over 10 years. Ford's proposal would retain much-needed revenue in these fiscally challenging times while simultaneously ensuring that more than 99 percent of Americans remain unaffected by the estate tax.

Further, just last month, the Congressman voted in favor of a bill in Congress that would raise minimum wage, extend targeted tax cuts, as well as reform the estate tax.

The bill would raise the personal exemption to $5 million, and would reduce the rate to 15% on parts of the estate from $5 to $25 million. Further, anything over $25 million would be taxed at 30%.