WASHINGTON—Three Senate leaders have reintroduced a measure to permanently repeal the estate tax—an action long desired by tire dealers and other small business owners.
The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019 was introduced Jan. 28 by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D.; and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Twenty-six other Republican senators joined them as co-sponsors.
"It's the government's final insult to force grieving families to visit both the undertaker and the IRS on the same day," McConnell said in a press release announcing the bill's introduction.
Under tax cut legislation in 2017, the individual estate and gift tax threshold was raised to $10 million through 2025. However, small business owners complain that the estate tax threatens the plans of small business owners to pass their businesses onto their heirs.
"Although we made great progress during the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act negotiations, the death tax still remains an onerous and unfair tax that punishes hardworking families," Thune said.
Political opinion long has been sharply divided on whether the estate tax is fair.
"Spend your money on riotous living—no tax; leave your money to your children—the tax collector gets paid first," according to a letter by economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman in a letter posted on the website of the Family Business Coalition, an anti-estate tax group.
"That is the message sent by the estate tax," according to Friedman's letter, which was co-signed by 700 mostly conservative and libertarian economists. "It is a bad message and the estate tax is a bad tax."