In what can only be considered an attempt to make a statement, a handful of Senators is introducing a new bill to make the federal estate tax repeals permanent. Those Senators have admitted that they are several votes short of those needed to be successful; nonetheless, the Boston Globe has reported this morning that the vote will be pushed through this week.

Earlier in the year, Senate Majority Leader Frist had vowed to vote on the legislation before the August recess (hmm, cutting it a little close, I see).
What is puzzling about this zeal to push the bill through this week is that a compromise bill, perhaps permanently raising the exemption amount, would have likely had the support to pass. However, the permanent repeal of a revenue-generating tax that affects only the top 2% of Americans, just doesn’t have a trem

endous amount of appeal at a time that the US is facing mounting deficits.
And not to blur the discussion without actual facts (horrors!), the Congressional Budget Office has released a study that suggests that keeping the exemption amount at 2009 levels would relieve almost all small family-owned businesses and farmers from the tax. You can download their report here (downloads a PDF).

Nonetheless, the push is on for the repeal. I guess you can’t blame a Senator for trying…

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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