Yesterday, I joined with 34 of my Senate colleagues to introduce the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act (S 2242). This legislation will permanently abolish the federal estate tax, better known by ranchers, farmers, and family business owners across America as the “death tax.” I believe the death tax is destructive, misguided, and inefficient, and that our economy, small businesses, family farms, and ranches that are expected to be transferred to future generations will benefit enormously from its demise.
America’s family businesses, farmers, and ranchers were spared from the wrath of the federal estate tax in 2010, but unfortunately this was merely a short reprieve. The current rate of 35 percent on estates worth more than $5 million per individual expires at the end of the year and will be raised to 55 percent on estates worth more than $1 million. Successful entrepreneurs and small business owners across America are once again subject to a punitive tax on their hard work, making planning and passing on farms, ranches, and businesses to the next generation even more difficult. As it stands today, more than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation, and nearly 90 percent of family businesses do not survive to the third generation.