Breathing New Life into the Death Tax Debate

Oct 04, 2013, 13:15 ET from Americans Standing for the Simplification of the Estate Tax (ASSET)

ASSET Hosts Discussion Panel Before the Shut Down

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ASSET hosted a discussion panel on the estate tax by bringing together experts on the last day of September, the day before the Government shut down. The event brought together the many sides of the estate tax debate.  Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge moderated a lively discussion of distinguished panelists, Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), former Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT), and Chuck Marr from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).


Jack Fitzgerald, entrepreneur-turned-grassroots-organizer, kicked off the meeting noting that his involvement with ASSET derives from his experience as a successful auto dealer.  "It's going to be hard enough for a used car salesman who will soon face Saint Peter.  I do not want the jobs of my 1,400 employees to be a concern," said Fitzgerald.  "We need this dialogue to understand how the estate tax still impacts private businesses and the jobs they create.  ASSET is a better way to stop the harm of the estate tax but assure the same revenue."

Senator Bennett presented that ASSET's solution offers the best of all worlds because it is an option for the taxpayer and not forced upon them.  By changing the collection method of the estate tax, you stop all harm immediately but preserve the revenue that many advocate is a must have.  "Death is no longer a taxable event. You are tying the paying of the tax to an economic event instead," said Senator Bennett.  Citing his own experience working for Howard Hughes and navigating the estate tax laws after he passed away, he explained that in the end, the government could actually end up with more revenue.

Chuck Marr from CBPP disagreed with ASSET's proposal.  With a staked out position calling for an increase in the rate to 45% and a desire to drop the exemption level to $3.5 million, Marr made the case that a second or third generation of idle rich, such as a perfume heiress in current headlines, does little to add economic activity.

Grover Norquist from ATR stated that the death tax is so offensive.  Ultimately, ATR advocates for full repeal of the estate tax.  "Repealing the death tax is a big priority for taxpayers. Any and every way to approach this is welcome. ASSET is a good plan and should be a big part of the discussion," added Norquist.

ASSET is a coalition of more than 3,000 private businesses, family farms and ranches, and their employees, founded in order to change the collection method for the Estate Tax, ensuring that the most successful taxpayers pay their fair share but in a far less distortive manner.

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SOURCE Americans Standing for the Simplification of the Estate Tax (ASSET)