ARLINGTON, VA — November 4, 2009 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) urged Congress to permanently repeal the estate tax on small businesses, especially family-owned businesses, during a hearing today of the House Committee on Small Business.

“For individually owned and operated stores like mine, the estate tax is a constant source of anxiety that has real consequences for my family, my employees and the day-to-day operations of my business,” said Christy Spoa, president of the Ellwood City Save-a-Lot in Ellwood City, PA. “I do not have the cash or assets on hand to simply write the government a check and pay the bill, so I have spent years and thousands of dollars to plan for the worst.” Spoa testified on behalf of FMI.

The estate tax is set to expire at the end of 2009, but only for one year. Beginning in 2011, the tax rate would return at a rate as high as 55 percent, a crippling level for family-owned businesses.

“The estate tax is a not just a one-time levy. It is a constant expense hanging over the head of thousands of family-owned businesses in the United States,” he said. “It is money taken away from job creation, increased wages, better benefits and continued growth.”

     “I believe repeal is the best solution and the best way to make sure that small and family-owned businesses continue to thrive and create jobs,” he said.

Click here to view Spoa's testimony.