WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The estate tax, or death tax as some call it, is on the chopping block in Washington. With GOP majorities in both chambers and a Republican in the White House, Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) says he is confident they can get rid of the tax. Strange says Alabamians are suffering because of the tax.
Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) says the estate tax hits farmers in his state particularly hard.
“I think it’s very unfair and I hope we finally get it done this year,” said Strange.
Strange signed onto repeal the tax with 33 of his Republican colleagues. Strange says the tax on the estates of the deceased hurts Americans who have spent their lives building up capital, hoping to pass it on to future generations.
“If you’re just an average person who spent their whole life building up a small business or a family farm, and you get hit with a huge, huge tax when they die, it’s just not fair,” said Strange.
As it stands, deceased Americans get hit with the estate tax if their estate is worth $5.5 million or more. Whoever is in charge of their estate has to pay it. Strange says in states like Alabama, the tax sometimes hits small, family-owned farms hard.
“We want to give people the opportunity to succeed and when they do succeed, why punish them when they die and they want to leave something to their family?” said Strange.
Most Democrats oppose the legislation because they say the estate tax helps combat inequality. Without the tax, they say the rich get richer, and it stays that way for generations.
“It’s a type of proposal that absolutely is leaving low income, middle class workers behind and is really just tailored to give more money at the top,” said Hunter Blair, a budget analyst at the Economic Policy Institute.
Blair says we are not talking about small farmers, but billionaires who will benefit from the elimination of the tax. He says right now the tax is only affecting point-two-percent of the wealthiest estates.
“Obviously there’s a number of things that we could be doing instead of giving away tax dollars to the wealthiest families,” said Blair. “We could be improving our schools, we could be strengthening our social programs, we could be building our infrastructure.”
Blair concedes Republicans will most likely succeed in the repeal. There is a similar bill in the House.