Senators Turn Down Chance to Repeal Estate Tax


The U.S. Senate this week had a chance to permanently repeal the estate tax.  They didn’t.  Following brief discussion, an amendment to a small business bill that would have put the so-called death tax at 0{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} was defeated by a vote of 59 to 39.

So how did our senators vote?

If Congress does not act this year, the law reverts back to a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55 percent starting on January 1. Agriculture groups across the board are worried that when parents die, children will have to sell all or part of the family operation just to pay taxes.  With all that one the line, the discussion on the floor was brief.

So why did the majority of our region’s senators not vote in favor of repealing this tax?

This statement came to us from Montana Senator Jon Tester:

“I support making sure any future Estate Tax is fair, permanent, applies only to a small percentage of Montana’s wealthiest estates, and doesn’t result in more national debt.”

Montana Senator Max Baucus gave us the following statement:

“I recognize the estate tax is a heavy burden for Montana’s family farms and small businesses. That’s why I’ve worked hard over the years to reform this problematic tax. But, I have many colleagues that feel we would be better off reducing the budget deficit rather than repealing the estate tax. Because of this, repealing the estate tax will not be possible. That is why I am currently working on a compromise that would preserve the estate tax while also providing tax relief to Montana farmers, ranchers, and small businesses people. The DeMint Amendment threatened to stall the important task of supporting Montana workers facing the toughest job market we’ve seen in decades. We cannot afford to let politics get in the way of folks putting food on the table during this recession. This is about is doing what’s right for Montana, and protecting our rural way of life without compromising our values of faith, family, hard work and common sense.”

The number of Congressional days remaining in 2010 are numbered.  While this amendment for permanent repeal did not pass, a Lincoln-Kyl Estate Tax Amendment to the Small Business Lending Bill would permanently set the estate tax rate at 35{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} with a $5 million exemption amount phased in over 10 years and indexed for inflation.


© Northern Ag Network 2010

Haylie Shipp


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