WASHINGTON, DC — May 23, 2000 — Supermarket executive Liz Minyard joined hundreds of family business owners and members of Congress in calling for the repeal of the federal estate tax at a Death Tax Summit held here today.

The summit takes place only a few weeks before the full House is scheduled to vote June 5 on the Death Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 8) — a bipartisan measure co-sponsored by 237 members of Congress, including 44 Democrats.

“Like a slap in the face” is how Liz Minyard describes the impact of the federal estate tax. She knows firsthand the devastating financial toll the tax takes on businesses. Her company, Minyard Food Stores, Inc., based in Dallas, TX, has been hit three times with the tax in 20 years — upon the deaths of her father, aunt and uncle.

“It’s sad enough to be burying loved ones,” she says, “but the harshness of having to deal with the estate tax hits you like a slap in the face. We were forced to pay taxes on numerous assets that had already been taxed.

“And whether you like it our not, estate taxes, for family businesses, become a significant part of your business plan,” said Minyard, who serves as company co-chairman and co-CEO. Aside from the tax itself, the company has paid more than $1 million in estate tax planning costs.

Minyard brings her experience and perspective on the subject as co-host of the “Death Tax Summit” here today. She is among thousands of family business owners calling for Congress and President Clinton to repeal the tax because of its detrimental impact on businesses, families, jobs and communities.

A Major Growth Constraint

While Minyards has taken extensive steps to minimize the impact of the estate tax on the third generation of the family now coming into the business, the cost has constrained its ability to grow, to create jobs and to better serve its customers and community.

“We are always striving to make the best use of our assets to expand our business and generate new jobs,” Liz says, “but the estate tax is a constraint on effective asset utilization. You have to prepare in advance and spend dollars protecting yourself just to lessen the impact of the tax.”

Despite this, the estate tax burden has not forced the Minyards to consider selling the business, something that other family grocers around the country have had to do. The company continues to revitalize areas in South and West Dallas, and pour money into the communities they serve as they honor their father’s commitment to help the local economy flourish.

Minyard was named the first woman chairman of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce and has won numerous civic and community awards.

The company includes 42 Minyard Food Stores, 21 Sack’n Save Warehouse Food Stores, 20 Carnival Food Stores, 12 gasoline stations and five specialty gourmet stores.

The Death Tax Summit begins with briefings on new research supporting repeal and presentations from members of Congress. A nationwide advertising campaign was announced to raise awareness of the estate tax issue.

Approximately 91 percent of all businesses in America are family owned. These businesses spend thousands of dollars annually on insurance premiums, lawyers and accountants for death tax planning purposes — resources that could be put back into the business. Death tax rates often start as high as 37 percent and climb to 60 percent for estates worth $10 million or more.