Fixing the 'Death Tax' is 'lame-duck' priority: NCBA

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – On Nov. 2 while the nation voted, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reminded members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate that there is still a lot of work that needs to be completed in the 111th Congress, including fixing the estate tax.

“We’re all playing the parlor game in Washington trying to guess what Congress will decide to consider during the lame-duck session,” said Colin Woodall, NCBA vice president of government affairs. “But NCBA’s top priority is to stop the death tax from returning to a 55% rate on all property over $1 million and provide family farmers and ranchers with some needed relief and certainty. If nothing is done, the death tax will hit a lot of cattle operations, a lot of family farms, and we can’t let that happen.”

Full repeal of the estate tax is being called for by NCBA. However, Woodall said a full repeal is not doable and that NCBA supports legislation introduced in the Senate by Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and in the House by Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) to increase the exemption level to $5 million and reduce the rate to 35%. The proposals also ensure that any relief related to the exemption is tied to inflation and that a stepped-up basis is included. NCBA also supports proposals for an estate tax exemption for agriculture.

“Whether they won reelection or they’re headed out the door, we’ve got to get all members of Congress focused on fixing the death tax,” Woodall said. “Our success in stopping it depends on a strong grassroots effort from NCBA members, all cattle producers, farmers and landowners and small business owners across the country. Our industry has had a rough two years with this administration and this Congress, and while we’re looking forward to working with the newly-elected Congress on critical issues dealing with tax, international trade and environmental policy, we’ve first got to stop the death tax from hitting thousands of cattle producers on Jan. 1, 2011.”
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