(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., spoke out today against a measure that would permanently set the estate tax at 45 percent. Under current law the tax, also referred to as the death tax, is set to expire at the end of this year.
The Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009 (H.R. 4154), “is nothing more than a preemptive tax increase to prevent the expiration of the death tax next year,” Heller said.
Congress in 2001 repealed the death tax with a phase out over time ending this year. The new measure would keep the tax in effect.
Heller offered two amendments to the bill but both failed. His first motion would have permanently repealed the death tax, which was rejected on procedural grounds. The second motion would have extended the expiration of the death tax through 2011. This motion failed by a vote of 187-233.
The House later voted 225-200 in favor of the measure to permanently extend the inheritance tax on estates larger than $3.5 million.
Nevada Reps. Shelley Berkley and Dina Titus, both D-Nev., voted for the bill.
Heller said: “Individuals pay income taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes. Now Congress has decided that nearly half of your assets belong to the federal government when you die. This bill will have a negative impact on family farms, ranches and small businesses which are often passed down from one generation to the next.
“In the current economic environment Congress should focus on ways to spur the economy, not hurt it,” Heller said. “A better solution would be to permanently repeal the death tax so we can end the double taxation in our country. Unfortunately, there are those in Congress who believe there should be no limits on how much the government should take from hardworking Americans.”
According to a private study cited by Heller, eliminating the death tax could have dramatic positive effects on the economy and spur job creation. According to the analysis, a repeal of the tax could increase small business capital by over $1.6 trillion; increase the probability of hiring by 8.6 percent; increase payrolls by 2.6 percent; expand investment by 3 percent; and create 1.5 million additional small business jobs.