He represents Minnesota. But Paul Wellstone dealt a serious blow to farmers on the Death Tax vote last night.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Paul Wellstone could never be considered a friend of taxpayers. On the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) scorecard last year, he scored a dismal 5 out of 100.

Over the years, however, Minnesotans could see him working for their interest in other areas. But his "no" vote on a crucial bill to permanently kill the Death Tax in the Senate last night showed his true colors to South Dakota taxpayers.

"Finally, Paul Wellstone has shown his true colors to Minnesota taxpayers," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads ATR in Washington. "And not voting to kill the death tax in an agricultural state will, I think, be the last straw for Minnesota voters."

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, and taxes will 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. All told, this will be a $4 trillion tax increase over the decade spanning 2011-2021.

"Over seventy percent of Americans oppose the Death Tax," 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worst of all, one out of four small businesses will have to go out of business to pay the tax, unless it is permanently repealed before 2011."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.