Despite past anti-tax rhetoric, Sen. Tim Johnson issued crucial "no" vote on bill last night to permanently kill death tax.
WASHINGTON – Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) constantly seeks to be portrayed as a centrist Democrat on tax issues. But his "no" vote on last night\’s Senate bill showed his true colors to South Dakota taxpayers in a crucial vote to permanently kill the death tax.
Despite voting for President Bush\’s tax relief package last spring, which phased out the death tax over 10 years, Johnson\’s efforts last were crucial in defeating the tax\’s permanent elimination.
"Finally, Tim Johnson has shown his true colors to South Dakota taxpayers," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "He talks the taxpayer\’s talk, but proved he won\’t walk the taxpayer\’s walk."
President Bush\’s tax relief package, which became law last spring, will gradually phase out the Death Tax, marriage penalty, and lessen marginal tax rates over the next 10 years. But due to obscure budgetary rules invoked by the Senate during the bill\’s passage, all of the rate reductions will sunset on 1 January 2011, when taxes jump back to year 2000 levels. If not made permanent, marginal tax rates will jump back to 2000 levels, while the once-eliminated death tax marriage penalty will be reinstated, adoption credit and holocaust exemption eliminated, and the previously doubled child credit will return to $500 from $1,000 per child.
"Eighty percent of South Dakotans voted to kill the Death Tax in their state," continued Norquist, "and with good reason. It is the worst form of double-taxation, where, after taxing you all your life, the government decides to take even more when you die. And worst of all, one out of four small businesses will have to go out of business to pay the tax, unless it is permanently repealed before 2011."
"Why, then, in a state so dominated by farms, agriculture and small business, would the people\’s senator vote to keep this onerous tax in place?" Norquist concluded.