House Passes Permanent Estate Tax Repeal

The House wanted its vote yesterday on permanent repeal of the
estate tax (H.R. 2143) to send a signal to the Senate showing
widening support for repeal. The vote did send a signal, though not the
one the House had intended.

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Taxpayers for Common Sense Letter to House Members

Taxpayers for Common Sensesent this letter to all House members on June 5, 2002, urging them to vote "No" on H.R. 2143 for permanent repeal of the estate tax.

The letter argues that, "The nation cannot afford this legislation at this time. Even if the lost revenues could be offset, the long-term revenue losses will cause significant future economic problems, all in the name of assisting a very small number of wealthy families to escape inheritance tax liability."

Read more from Taxpayers for Common Sense

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"House Backs Permanent End to Estate Tax"

Carl Hulse in the New York Times, June 7, 2002

This NYT article highlights the politics underlying the June 6 House passage of permanent estate tax repeal in a 256-171 vote -- House Republican leaders hope to use the vote and the upcoming November elections to pressure Senators to pass permanent repeal in a vote expected by June 28. The House vote, however, reveals not more, but less support for permanent repeal as compared with its previous vote to make estate tax repeal permanent in April 2001 (H.R. 8, which passed, 274-154).

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Transport Workers Union Letter to House Members

The Transport Workers Union sent this letter to all House members on June 5, 2002, urging them to vote "No" on H.R. 2143 for permanent repeal of the estate tax.

The letter notes that, "In every other war in American history taxes have been raised to defray the costs of the war. During World War I wealthy Americans asked to have their taxes raised so they could participate in the war effort and do their share."

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American's for A Fair Estate Tax - Letter to Senators

Americans for a Fair Estate Tax
1742 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
TEL: (202) 234-8494 &nbsp FAX: (202) 234-8584 &nbsp www.fairestatetax.org

June 6, 2002

Dear Senator __________:

Sometime this month, under a previous unanimous consent agreement, the Senate will take up legislation to determine the fate of the federal estate tax. During the debate, Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) will offer an amendment to permanently repeal the federal estate tax. We strongly urge you to vote “No” on the Gramm amendment.

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American's for a Fair Estate Tax - Letter to Members of the House

Americans for a Fair Estate Tax
1742 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
TEL: (202) 234-8494 &nbsp FAX: (202) 234-8584 &nbsp www.fairestatetax.org

June 3, 2002

Dear Representative:

The House is expected to take up legislation to permanently eliminate the estate tax on Thursday, June 6. We strongly urge you to vote “No” to “The Permanent Death Repeal Act” (HR 2143).

Proponents of repealing the estate tax have attempted to create numerous myths about the estate tax.

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National Women's Law Center: "Permanent Tax Breaks for the Wealthiest 2% Are Unfair"

This June 2002 2-page fact sheet from the National Women's Law Center provides a concise look at -- among other aspects of estate tax repeal -- a comparison between the extremely limited number of people who would benefit from permanent repeal of the estate tax with the vast number of people who could benefit from using the funds preserved through sensible reform to strengthen Social Security.

Read more tax analyses from NWLC

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CBPP Analysis: "Costly Permanent Estate Tax Repeal Would Benefit Only A Few, Very Large Estates"

This June 3, 2002 analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines the many problems with permanent repeal of the estate tax, as proposed by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Phil Gramm (R-TX) -- and provides a comparison with the relatively lower costs of sensible reform options.

More CBPP analyses of the estate tax are available on the Center's website.

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Americans Return to Fray Over Estate Tax Repeal

Deborah McGregor in the Financial Times, May 16, 2002

This Financial Times piece provides a brief overview of the efforts of both sides of the estate tax debate. It also notes that, "full repeal of the estate tax would cost ... $53.4bn in 2011, with the figure increasing in subsequent years ... [in other words], repeal would be more than double the annual cost of the hefty new farm bill Mr Bush recently signed into law."

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"Tax The Wealthy: Why America Needs the Estate Tax"

William H. Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins in The American Prospect, June 17, 2002

In this TAP piece, Bill Gates, Sr. and Chuck Collins, remind us that, "[Republican President Theodore] Roosevelt and others of his day understood that the American experiment was an attempt to balance economic liberty and free enterprise, on the one hand, with a traditional concern about democracy and the dangers of concentrated wealth and power, on the other. The estate tax, adopted in 1916, was one of the means by which Americans rejected the Old World, with its political and economic monarchies."

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