NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Farmers Hot On Estate Tax Issue

August 20, 1999

Upon visiting their districts to promote the GOP tax-cut bill, some Republican representatives were astonished to find that drought-stricken farmers are particularly interested in the estate-tax feature of the legislation. The bill would repeal the federal estate tax.

  • For example, in the fertile Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania -- where farmers are losing at least 70 percent of their corn crop and half their soybean harvest -- Rep. Patrick J. Toomey (R) was startled to find farmers bringing up the estate tax, "unprompted" as he says.
  • The current estate tax applies to assets of $650,000 or more and ranges from 18 percent to 55 percent.
  • In fiscal 1998, the tax raised $24.6 billion in revenues -- just 1.3 percent of total federal revenues.
  • The GOP plan would phase it out by 2010.

Farm equipment suppliers are lining up behind farmers on the issue. Typically land rich and cash poor, farm families are often faced with having to sell expensive equipment or farm land to pay the tax when their property passes from one generation to another. Manufacturers and purveyors of farm equipment recognize that whatever hurts their customers, hurts them, also.

Source: Dave Boyer, "Drought-Hit Farmers Support Tax-Cut Plan," Washington Times, August 20, 1999.


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