WASHINGTON, DC — March 19, 2002 — “Food retailers across America applaud President Bush’s new small business plan to promote innovation and create jobs,” said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, commenting on the proposal unveiled today. “Small family businesses embody the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit. They are a significant part of FMI’s membership and the food retailing industry, accounting for $130 billion in sales each year.

“We are especially pleased by President Bush’s pledge to drive the final stake into the death tax by making it permanent. As it stands now, the tax is scheduled to be resurrected in 2011. Because of this uncertainty, family businesses all together must continue to pay billions of dollars each year for estate planning and special life insurance to pay taxes when the owner dies.

“With permanent repeal assured, family-owned businesses could spend those billions now on jobs, innovation and support for communities nationwide.

“The best way that the government can stimulate and sustain economic growth, as President Bush clearly recognizes, is to create an environment in which small businesses can flourish.”