News Releases

Murray on Permanent Repeal of the Estate Tax

Jun 11 2002

Just as the estate tax is bad for businesses and jobs, so is chronic deficit spending by the federal government

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today the U.S. Senate voted against a permanent repeal of the Estate Tax. Senator Murray, who has worked to reform the Estate Tax, released the following statement.

"I believe we need to repeal the estate tax. It is bad for businesses. It's bad for workers and new job creation. And it's bad for our communities who are watching their local, family-owned businesses get swallowed up by large corporations.

For the last seven years, I have worked to address the problems with the estate tax. I introduced legislation in 1995 to reform the estate tax, and I voted for the 1997 tax bill that made it easier for family farms and small businesses to transfer their assets to the next generation. In 2000, I cosponsored legislation by Senator Jon Kyl and former Senator Bob Kerrey to repeal the estate tax, and I voted for similar legislation later that year.

I sincerely wish I could have supported the estate tax repeal amendment debated today.

But unfortunately, our nation's financial outlook has changed dramatically during the last 12 months. As a result of the massive, $1.7 trillion Bush tax cut, coupled with the recession and the aftermath of September 11th, deficits have replaced surpluses.

Last year, the Administration projected $5.6 trillion of surpluses over the next ten years. But today, the Senate Budget Committee projects $600 billion worth of deficits over the same period.

As much as I believe the estate tax must go, I believe passionately that we have a responsibility to balance the government's books. Just as the estate tax is bad for businesses and jobs, so is chronic deficit spending by the federal government.

The country deserves a debate on how we balance estate tax repeal – or other aspects of last year's tax law – with our other obligations. We must address our homeland security needs, whether it's strengthening airline and port security, improving operations at our borders, or making sure our troops in the field have the training and resources they need. Our constituents are also demanding action on issues that were important prior to September 11. Health care is a crucial issue for individuals and families, and to the businesses who support estate tax repeal. In addition, we cannot lose sight of long-term investments in education, job training and infrastructure.

Today is not the last time we will debate estate tax repeal. Between now and the next estate tax vote, I believe Congress and the Administration need to reach agreement on a basic budget framework that makes room for estate tax repeal. Unless we repeal the estate tax in the context of a budget agreement, we will just be playing politics instead of making real progress on a tough but important issue."

Sen. Murray's work to reform the Estate Tax:

In 1995, Murray introduced legislation on Estate Tax Reform (104-S. 161, the American Family Business Preservation Act)

In 1997, Murray supported the tax bill that made it easier for family farms and small businesses to transfer their assets to the next generation. (P.L. 105-34, The Taxpayer Releif Act of 1997)

In 2000, Murray cosponsored legislation (S. 1128) by Sen. Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Kerrey (D-Neb.) to repeal the estate tax.

In 2001, Murray voted for Estate Tax repeal legislation similar to S. 1128.