A local member of Congress is leading the latest charge to do away with one of the most unpopular and controversial taxes in the country. Woodlands Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) has re-introduced legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, more commonly known as the death tax. Congressman Brady tells KTRH the death tax was implemented 96 years ago and it's time for it to go once and for all. "Can you imagine you've worked your whole life to build up a nest egg on a family-owned farm or business, then when you die Uncle Sam swoops in and takes nearly half," he asks.
Brady says the estate tax only brings in about two days worth of federal spending every year, while it hinders economic growth. "This is not only an unfair tax, it does nothing to help the economy or balance the budget." Furthermore, he argues the tax impacts far more people than was originally intended. "Minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses are the fastest growing entrepreneurs in America," he says. "Many of them who are building wealth for the first time will be caught by this death tax." Indeed, supporters of the repeal say more than 70% of family businesses don't survive to the second generation, and 90% don't survive to the third generation because of the estate tax.
Brady has 13 co-sponsors for the House bill, including one Democrat. Meantime, Senator John Thune (R-SD) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate. A similar bill in the last Congress garnered bipartisan support from 223 House members and 38 Senators, but ultimately fell short of passage. Brady says if for no other reason, this repeal should be passed because of the positive impact it would have on the economy. "It encourages people to start that small business, to maintain that family farm, to hire, to buy machinery and equipment," he explains. "And we want Americans to pursue the American dream."