Washington, DC — April 4, 2001 — “Today’s House vote to repeal the estate tax is a vote for savings, for innovation and for family businesses, which create two-thirds of the jobs in this nation, said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). “It’s time to put this insanely complicated and destructive tax to rest.”

“It is also a vote for fairness and democracy,” he said, noting the overwhelming public opposition to a tax that can run as high as 60 percent on estates with assets over $10 million. “The fact that the House has now voted three times to repeal the tax — and by substantial bipartisan margins — sends a message that this issue transcends politics and this tax should be abolished as soon as possible.

“This insidious tax affects every worker and consumer who depends on family businesses for their livelihood and well-being. It affects every community whose food banks, schools, hospitals and other vital institutions depend on the generosity of local family companies.

“The estate tax kills family businesses, and repeal is the only answer. Increasing the exemption is useless to the thousands of family-owned grocers, farmers, newspapers and others who would still need an army of attorneys and tax planning experts to deal with any exemption level that could be proposed.

“The only question is how quickly we can eliminate this tax. The House bill would do it in 10 years. We urge the Senate to kill it much faster. Family businesses need relief now from the costly insurance premiums and tax planning fees that are as much a burden as the tax itself.

“The tens of billions that the estate tax now takes from family businesses — in planning, insurance and direct tax costs — can be put to productive economic use in expanding our community businesses and stimulating our economy if we can put this unfair tax behind us.”