U.S. Senate Debates Estate Tax
Republicans in Washington, D.C. want to ease surviving relatives' burden by repealing the estate tax while Democrats argued it would hurt an already unstable national economy.
About one out of every 100 Missourians have to deal with the tax. A single person's estate would need more than $2 million to be taxed. For a couple's estate, the minimum is $4 million.
Rhonda Perry of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center is a livestock and grain farmer in Howard County. She said most farmers don't have enough money to be taxed, and the tax money could be put to better use.
"Family farmers depend on government programs in a number of ways to help ensure food safety and food security, conservation programs," she said.
If Congress repealed the estate tax, the federal government would lose an estimated $1 trillion in 10 years. Missouri would lose $115 million.
Democratic senators said the money could pay for coverage of uninsured children, feed hungry people and send 400,000 students to college who couldn't afford it otherwise.
"This is all about helping people at a time when things aren't going so well, when there's a tragedy in the family, said Paul Sloca, state Republican Party spokesman. "And to go in and take up to 50% of their assets is simply not right."
The U. S. House of Representatives has approved the repeal of the so-called death tax, and President Bush supports the repeal. The Senate will take its first vote on the bill this Thursday.