Congress Should Repeal the Death Tax

This Wednesday, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) introduced legislation to fully repeal the federal estate and gift tax named the Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 198). A similar bill previously passed the House of Representatives in 2015 but never received a vote in the Senate.

The current death tax rate is at 45 percent and applies to mostly small business owners and farmers with property value exceeding $10 million. According to the non-partisan tax foundation, repealing the death tax would grow the economy by $137 billion and create an additional 139,000 jobs over ten years.

One of the most egregious consequences about the death tax, besides its adverse economic effects, is that it prevents parents from passing on their family business to their children and forces families to sell the family farm in order to pay off the government. The death tax violates the very spirit of the American dream by stripping away the fruits of one’s labor, not to mention it serves as a double tax after property tax is taken into account.

With a new administration sympathetic to small business owners, Congress should move quickly to repeal the death tax and get it to President-elect Trump’s desk as soon as possible. The more important task for Congress ahead is to debate and pass pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform that will provide real relief to individuals and businesses and get our economy out of the weakest year of job-creation we’ve had since 2011.

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