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Public Statements

Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC


TAX COLLECTION RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - October 10, 2007)

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Mr. HULSHOF. Mr. Speaker, I rise to offer this motion to recommit to the underlying bill, the Tax Collection Responsibility Act.

The motion to recommit would actually incorporate H.R. 2380, which is a bill for which I am the original sponsor. It is a bipartisan bill, and I would hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, especially those who have cosponsored the bill, would see fit to support this motion to recommit.

Since I have these few moments, and I see the distinguished chairman of the committee who may be responding, let me anticipate some points or questions perhaps and try to respond to them.

We may hear the question: Why are we doing the death tax repeal now?

Well, three times in the last session of Congress did we have the opportunity to debate this issue and vote on it. Again, this House in a bipartisan fashion voted to completely, permanently repeal the death tax.

I am not certain under the new majority that we will have that opportunity or not. There is a policy rationale for considering this measure now. One is the certainty.

As the Speaker knows, right now there is a $2 million exemption, a 45 percent rate, a very punitive rate. That exemption in 2010 goes up to a complete repeal, and there is lack of certainty, especially those family businesses that are looking to plan on how to dispose of those assets. So I think now is an appropriate time.

We may hear from my good friend, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is this bill paid for. And I would suggest first of all that there is no budgetary impact in fiscal year 2009. We are looking beyond January 1, 2011, before any budgetary impact. And I would quote the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee who at least has been quoted in the paper as saying he is ready to tackle some big, tough issues, like the alternative minimum tax. The permanent death tax repeal is significantly less loss of revenue to the government than repealing the AMT.

He has talked about fairness and equity. I can think of nothing fairer than to get rid of this very punitive tax.

We may hear from the other side, as traditionally we do, this is something that only a handful of individuals face, or that this is for millionaires only. My rejoinder to that is then why is every small business group in America, whether it be the National Federation of Independent Business, whether it be every business group that represents minority interests, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the African American Chamber of Commerce in the past, all have supported complete repeal, final repeal of this very punitive tax.

Let me talk a little bit about the values of this.

This is the land of opportunity, is it not? The old adage is, if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. The only thing guaranteed, of course, in America is the guarantee of freedom and liberty and the opportunity to achieve whatever it is you dream about.

Let me tell you a very personal story of a dream of a young couple. A young, strapping man left home in 1956 with his new bride in tow. They had $1,000 to their name. That is what his father had given him to go make his way into the world. And so they settled in Mrs. Emerson's district in southeast Missouri, and they worked very hard to build a farm.

Over the course of those many years, this couple had a son, an only son. That individual is the one the Chair has recognized here today.

They built this family business, a family-owned farm, 500 acres, three tractors, a used combine, the farmhouse where I grew up. And so it was, of course, the unfortunate reality of life, and that is we meet our heavenly reward. My dad passed on the anniversary of John F. Kennedy's death on November 22, 5 years ago this November. Mom survived another 17 months after that.

I am sitting there across the mahogany desk from our old, long-time family accountant who had an old adding machine with a tape in it, and he is plugging in a value for all of these assets that my parents had already been taxed on, whose assets were to help put food on the table. Suddenly I broke out in a cold sweat because I knew when he hit the total button, that figure was going to be above or below an arbitrary line, a line set by this body.

Mr. Speaker, death of a family member should not be a taxable event, and the fact is if Congress fails to do anything with the current regime, virtually every small business in America in 2011 is going to be facing this very punitive tax. I urge an ``aye'' vote on the motion to recommit.

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