April 03,2008

Grassley Urges Estate Tax Reform Mark-up

Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley
Hearing, “Outside the Box on Estate Tax Reform: Reviewing Ideas to Simplify Planning.”
Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this series of hearings on the estate tax. At theconclusion of today’s session we will have effectively discussed the effects, alternatives andpotential amendments to the estate tax in great depth. At this point, we should be driven to actionregarding what is the ultimate fate of the estate tax system. While I continue to favor completerepeal, I understand that we must come to a bipartisan solution which will provide certainty andfairness to many individuals who are uneasy with the current situation. It is troubling to me that theCongress has done nothing more than talk about potential reforms and have not taken effectiveaction to remedy the fact that in 2011 the death tax will come back with impunity on the 2001 level. This situation is simply unacceptable.

During this session we have tried to stimulate the economy by getting money in the hands ofconsumers and small business people allowing them to invest the funds as they see fit and not at thewhim of the government. By taking steps to simplify the estate tax we will further this goal and freeup even more funds which would have gone to expensive attorneys and have them instead reinvestedinto businesses or in the economy. This simplification will strengthen these businesses and theeconomy while making it easier for families to pass their businesses and farms to their childrendirectly without much complication or expense.

When I return to Iowa I want to be able to tell small farmers who are getting ready to harvest theirfields that they can focus on the job at hand and don’t have to worry about the potential trouble onthe horizon regarding the death tax. They should not have to spend lots of time and money payingexpensive attorneys to arrange their belongings for no other reason than to avoid the estate tax. Fora small farmer or businessman, this time of year is busy enough without having to worry about thegovernment repeatedly changing all the rules.

I again would like to thank the chairman for holding these hearings, but I also would like to urge thecommittee to move quickly toward a mark up of an estate tax bill at its earliest convenience. Weneed a bill which will simplify the estate tax as well as make those changes more permanent toprovide individuals certainty and simplicity regarding the settling of their estate. A bill of this kindwill ease anxiety and allow individuals to reinvest their money into their businesses and theeconomy as opposed to paying attorneys to keep their assets away from the government. If we canaccomplish this goal it will be a great success to show we averted the potential disastrous effect of2011 and helped to simplify the estate tax code to the benefit of our constituents. Thank you.