He issued the statement after the House approved a bill to make permanent the repeal measure, which is due to expire Jan. 1, 2011.
Killing the estate tax altogether benefits the more than five million family businesses and households whose livelihood is threatened by this tax. It frees them from the burden of spending billions of dollars a year in estate planning and special life insurance to avoid or cover the tax. And it frees those billions to stimulate the economy at a time when we need it most.
Those who argue that repeal would cost the government large sums of money fail to account for the capital gains taxes that heirs will pay when they sell inherited assets.
In fact, what we are doing essentially is replacing the estate tax, with rates as high as 60 percent, with a 20 percent capital gains tax. We are simply making death a nontaxable event - a compelling policy for both moral and economic reasons.
Poll after poll has shown that nine in 10 American voters believe the tax is unfair, and the vast majority support full and permanent repeal. Clearly, the House has heard the message, having voted for repeal repeatedly over the past few years. We urge the Senate to heed that message now and allow President Bush to drive a stake in the estate tax.