2009 Votes on Legislative Proposals
The FY 2010 Budget Resolution (Conference Report to Accompany S. Con. Res. 13) passed the House 233-193 and the Senate 53-43 on April 29, 2009. The budget assumes a freeze of the estate tax at the current 45% rate and $3.5 million exemption.
The Lincoln/Kyl Compromise, offered as an amendment (SA 873) to the Senate Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 13), was agreed to by a vote of 51-48 on April 2, 2009 and later dropped in conference committee. All 41 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted YES, including Senators Blanche Lincoln (AR), David Pryor (AR), Bill Nelson (FL), Evan Bayh (IN), Mary Landrieu (LA), Max Baucus (MT), Jon Tester (MT), Ben Nelson (NE), Maria Cantwell (WA) and Patty Murray (WA). The amendment would have created a deficit neutral reserve fund to make the estate tax permanent by lowering the rate to 35%, increasing the exemption to $5 million indexed for inflation, reunifying estate and gift taxes and providing for spousal portability. The proposal would not have included deductibility for state estate taxes. PATG supported this amendment.
The Durbin Amendment (SA 974), offered to the Senate Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 13) immediately following the Lincoln/Kyl Compromise, was agreed to by a vote of 56-43 and later dropped in conference committee. All 41 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted NO, including Senators Bill Nelson (FL) and Mary Landrieu (LA). The amendment would have raised a point of order against any estate tax relief better than a freeze of current law unless an equal amount of tax relief was also provided for individuals earning less than $100,000 per year. PATG opposed this amendment.
Other Key Proposals
Representative John Salazar’s (D-CO) H.R. 173 would exclude from the gross estate of a decedent the value of farmland used by an heir for farming purposes.
Representative Mac Thornberry’s (R-TX) H.R. 205 would repeal federal estate and gift taxes.
Representative Earl Pomeroy’s (D-ND) H.R. 436 would make the estate tax permanent by freezing the rate at 45% and exemption at $3.5 million, apply a 5% surtax to estates over $10 million and disallow valuation discounts for certain family-owned entities. PATG opposes this legislation.
Representative Harry Mitchell’s (D-AZ) H.R. 498 would reduce the estate tax rate to 15% for estates under $25 million and 30% for estates over $25 million, phase in a $5 million exemption indexed for inflation, reunify estate and gift taxes, provide for spousal portability and eliminate the state estate tax deduction.
Representative Jim McDermott’s (D-WA) H.R. 2023 would make the estate tax rate permanent at 45% for estates up to $5 million, 50% for estates over $5 million and 55% for estates over $10 million and reduce the exemption to $2 million indexed for inflation. PATG opposes this legislation.
Representative Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) H.R. 3463 would permanently repeal the estate tax. PATG supports this legislation.
Representative Mike Thompson’s (D-CA) H.R. 3524, introduced with Representative John Salazar (D-CO) would exclude certain farmland, which is in continuous use for agriculture or horticulture, from the value of estates.
Representative Shelley Berkley’s (D-NV) H.R. 3905, introduced with Representatives Kevin Brady (R-TX), Artur Davis (D-AL) and Devin Nunes (R-CA), would, over ten years, permanently lower the estate tax rate to 35%, increase the exemption to $5 million indexed for inflation and eliminate the state estate tax deduction. PATG supports this legislation.
Senator Max Baucus’s (D-MT) S. 722 would make the estate tax permanent at a 45% rate and $3.5 million exemption indexed for inflation, reunify estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes, provide spousal portability, improve special use valuations and retain stepped-up basis and deductibility of state estate taxes.