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Thornberry receives Benjamin Franklin Award for work to repeal estate tax

Washington, April 2, 2015
U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) received the Benjamin Franklin Award from the 60 Plus Association, a non-partisan seniors advocacy group, for his continued efforts to repeal the death tax.

“I appreciate being recognized for my work to repeal the death tax, but, more importantly, I’m encouraged that a bill to repeal it was passed out of the Ways and Means Committee last week,” said Thornberry.  “That is an important step to remove the burden the death tax places on family farms, ranches, and small businesses.”

The death tax, also known as the inheritance tax or estate tax, requires families to turn over portions of an inheritance to the government.  Small business owners, farmers, and ranchers are often particularly vulnerable to this tax, making it more difficult for future generations to build upon their family’s hard work. 

Thornberry has introduced or cosponsored a bill to repeal the death tax over 20 times while serving in Congress.  On the opening day of the 114th Congress this year, he filed the “Death Tax Repeal Act,” H.R. 173, which would permanently repeal the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes.  Thornberry also cosponsored a bill by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), H.R. 1105. Brady’s bill passed out of the Ways and Means Committee last week - a key step before a bill can come to the House floor for a vote.

“Since the estate tax was temporarily imposed in 1916 to help pay for World War I, by every measure it’s failed to achieve the purposes its supporters champion,” Brady said in a statement about his bill. “It’s robbed America’s economy of $1.1 trillion in capital investment. It generates little annual revenue – less than enough to cover one day of Washington spending. It hurts the economy, encourages income inequality and fails to meet any basic standard of fairness.”

The legislation also has the support of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC). NBCC president and CEO, Harry C. Alford, wrote the following in The Hill last week:

"The death tax creates an unfair situation for minority businesses which have primarily started to accumulate wealth within the last 60 years. Many minority-owned family businesses are first-generation businesses, where children work alongside their parents. These business owners do not want to sell out at fire-sale prices to pay the estate tax and eliminate the livelihoods for the next generation in addition to the jobs for those whom they employ."

Other organizations that support the repeal of the death tax include: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, The Farm Bureau, Family Business Coalition, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Americans for Tax Reform, American Trucking Association, Associated General Contractors of America, and more.