Opponents of ET Starting to Fight...With Each Other

head buttingThe estate tax has emerged from its summer vacation and is in the headlines again this fall. But its not the usual "the world will end unless this tax is repealed" drumbeat. In fact, it looks like anti-estate tax advocates are starting to butt heads a bit. Here's a quick rundown:

Alliance of Corporations Backs Down: On Thursday, September 29, a coalition of 46 industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, sent a letter to House and Senate leaders that abandoned their longstanding campaign to permanently repeal the estate tax in favor of a long-term extension of the estate tax at a reduced rate. The ironically-named Family Business Estate Tax Coalition's letter urged Congress to enact a permanent solution that would lock in a $10 million exemption for couples and a top tax rate of 35 percent.
Bloomberg News: Chamber of Commerce, NFIB Back 35 Percent Estate Tax

USA Today Editorial: On October 1, USA Today ran an editorial opining that compromise may be on the horizon if the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition could bring down their "generous" proposal a bit:

Just this week, 46 groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, announced that they want not repeal, but a permanent 35% tax on estates worth more than $10 million. That's a bit rich (this year's exemption is a generous $3.5 million), but it's a sign that compromise might be attainable in this long-running policy war.
USA Today editorial

Hard-Core Right Wingers Reject Corporate Compromise: Following the announcement from the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition, even more conservative activists chastised their former allies. The president of the American Family Business Institute, Dick Patten, wrote in an e-mail blast that "[w]e are deeply disappointed by the Chamber's and NFIB's decision to abandon small businesses and farms in the name of compromise." AFBI's president Dick Patten further criticized his business partners by claiming they are not tough enough, "[a]s so often happens, business groups already are running for the barricades, before the fight begins, seeking compromise instead of victory."
CongressDaily: Estate Tax Foes Blast Industry-Backed Deal

Image by Flickr user jerryfeist, used under a Creative Commons license.

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