I support estate tax relief that targets relief to farmers and small businesspeople while protecting our ability to pay down the debt and shore up the long-term solvency of Social Security and Medicare. The vast majority of people living in Wisconsin's Second Congressional District will receive no benefit from the estate tax cut passed earlier this year. According to the bi-partisan congressional Joint Tax Committee, fewer than two percent of all estates pay estate taxes. In Wisconsin, only 828 estates had any estate tax liability in 1998 (the last year for which statistics are available).
I strongly believe it is time to deliver estate tax relief to Wisconsin family farms and small businesses. I voted for a proposal that would have given immediate relief to 75 percent of small businesses and family farms affected by the estate tax by implementing a $2 million exemption this year -- rising to $5 million by 2006. The exemption in the Administration's tax cut law will not reach $2 million until 2006.
The tax bill that was signed into law will eliminate the estate tax, but it will take nearly 10 years for it to be fully phased out. However, under the new law, in 2011 the estate tax will again be part of the tax code.