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Estate Tax Repeal: to Have and Have Not

June 11, 2002

Re "House OKs Estate Tax's Full Repeal," June 7: The Senate is expected to vote soon on permanent repeal of the estate tax. In my view a repeal would be a gift to the ultra-rich, not a sensible move to protect family businesses and farms. Family businesses and farms would be better served by reforming, not repealing, the estate tax. A simple and equitable reform would be to raise the exemption ceiling, as Congress has already done. Congress raised this ceiling from $675,000 last year to $1 million this year, and $3.5 million for a single person, or $7 million for a married couple, by 2009. This type of reform can keep family businesses and farms intact, yet maintain fairness.

An outright repeal of the estate tax would cost billions, letting the richest Americans off the hook while increasing the burden on the rest of us to fund vital programs. It would also put even more pressure on state budgets here in California and elsewhere, which are already feeling the pinch.

Mike Greene

Tustin

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As the owner of a small business, I think it's so unfair that some members of Congress want to give multimillionaires a costly new tax break by permanently repealing the federal estate tax, and leave the rest of us with the short end of the stick.

Our nation is currently struggling to provide quality education and health care, protect Social Security and Medicare and bolster homeland security for all. Can we really afford to give the wealthiest 2% of estate holders an extra $850 billion over 20 years?

Instead of helping the super-rich get richer through complete repeal, let's permanently reform the estate tax to ensure that small-business owners like myself, family farmers and the vast majority of Americans never have to pay it.

David Joyce

Reseda

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