Statement of Charlotte McConnell, Executive Director, Family and Child Services of Washington, DC In

On June 12, 2002, Sen. Kent Conrad, William H. Gates, Sr., and Americans for a Fair Estate Tax released the results from a poll conducted in May on views of the estate tax among the American public. The following are the remarks of Charlotte McConnell, Executive Director of Family and Child Services of Washington, DC, Inc. on the problems repeal of the estate tax pose for the nation's charities. America’s Charities Say, “There’s No Room for Estate Tax Repeal” Remarks on Estate Tax Repeal Charlotte McConnell Executive Director, Family and Child Services of Washington, DC, Inc. Those who are here this morning are providing you with some very powerful facts and figures about the estate tax – Senator Conrad has outlined for us how great a strain on our country’s resources permanent repeal of the estate tax will create. Bob Boorstin has highlighted the huge gap between the goals of the very influential “small business lobby” and their rather vocal allies in the House and Senate on one side of this debate and the needs and priorities of the 67% of us – the rest of us – who know that there is no room for estate tax repeal on our country’s growing “To Do” list. Why isn’t there room on the list? Because our country’s “To Do” list currently already includes strengthening our country’s emergency response systems and guarding against future tragedies. It includes ensuring that our country’s Social Security system remains as strong as it is now so that it is there to care for our children and our grandchildren, even after it supports us. Also on that “To Do” list outlined in Bob’s slide is a prescription drug benefit for our seniors. But our nation’s list does not stop there. We must educate our children, ready them for this changing world, and ensure that they can grow up healthy – in families that can care for them and in a country that does not allow millions of its children to grow up in poverty; the list also includes investing now as a nation to help prevent many of the problems that we as social service providers strive to solve on a daily basis. Most experts agree that repeal of the estate tax would negatively impact our country’s charities. On average, the estate tax brings in almost $45 billion in both resources for the country and charitable donations. Now, that might not seem like a lot at first, but for the nation’s social services providers, hospitals, schools, and universities, it’s a great deal of resources. Roughly one-fourth of all charitable bequests goes to human service providers, such as my organization – Family and Child Services. Family and Child Services has been here, in DC, for more than 120 years and we’ve been working to improve the lives of children, their families, and our vulnerable elderly population – more than 10,000 people each year – since our founding. We currently receive 70% of our support from government funding but now realize we must begin seeking out more private funders after drastic cuts in government programs forced us to make our own dramatic cuts in the number of families we were able to assist. Now, I ask you, if President Bush is calling on private community organizations to play an ever-increasing role in the provision of services to our hard-working parents and their children – and at the same time is cutting the funding that goes to these community organizations – and a significant amount of resources in the private sector drops away with repeal of the estate tax, How will our community organizations be able to meet the needs of our country’s families and answer the mandate from the President? The answer is that we are struggling now to provide these services – estate tax repeal will only further limit our ability. Americans don’t want estate tax repeal, America’s working families can’t support more tax cuts for the super-wealthy, and America’s charities can’t afford to lose any more funding – We ask America’s Senate to leave repeal of the estate tax where it should be – off America’s “To Do” list.
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