800 state legislators from across the country sign letter to President and Congress calling for permanent repeal

WASHINGTON – Today, Americans for Tax Reform, the nation’s largest taxpayer advocacy group, sent a letter to President Bush and members of Congress on behalf of state legislators calling for the permanent repeal of the death tax. Seven hundred and ninety one legislators representing 49 states signed the letter. Included as part of the 2001 tax cut, the death tax will be completely phased out in 2010, before returning the following year.

A copy of the letter can be accessed at:

The Death tax has been found to be devastating to small business and family farmers and public opinion polls consistently find that more than 70 percent of Americans support abolishing the tax. In addition to the compliance costs, the tax discourages investment, raises the price of capital, and encourages early retirement, all of which harm the economy as a whole.

“It speaks very much to the health of the nation that such a large plurality of Americans want to abolish the death tax,” said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). “The argument that some who play to the politics of hate and class division will say it is only a small minority of Americans that pay this tax. Today’s message from state legislators is clear – taxing the act of death is unjust and this onerous tax needs to be eliminated.”

Because of a sunset provision in the 2001 bill, the death tax will be reinstated in 2011. Estates larger than $650,000 will be liable to the tax and subject to a top rate of 55 percent. Because the rules on the tax change every year and given the fact that the tax will return in its original form, the burdensome economic costs have not disappeared. Only with permanent repeal will the resources now used for estate planning or complying with the tax be put into wealth creating activities, helping to grow the economy.

Norquist continued, “With more than 60 Senators on record at sometime during their career supporting abolition, its time to end the games and finally bury the Death Tax for good.”