Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Letter to the editor

Guest column off the mark

December 19, 2007

To the editor:

As an active participant in the estate planning area for the past 26 years, I must take issue with former state senator Don Biggs' guest column.

The only part I agree with is that more farms are owned by corporations.

However, this is due at least partly to the Federal Estate Tax. Mr. Biggs challenges Kansas Farm Bureau to name just one family farm that has been lost due to the tax. I can name several from my own client base, but of course I would not disclose names.

Mr. Biggs, either out of zealotry for his political position or not knowing the laws concerning the Federal Estate Tax, did not mention the fact that the current exemptions to the tax sunset in the year 2010. This means in 2011, without action from Congress, we will return to 2002 levels of both the tax rate and exemption amounts. At that time, the amount excluded from Federal Estate Tax will return to $1,000,000 per individual. This amount is hardly "protection for the rich," when you consider your estate takes in all farmland, machinery, livestock, grain, outbuildings, vehicles, dwellings, furniture, etc.

Now to the point about tax cuts for the "wealthy" leaving more tax for "the rest of us." Since 84 percent of all federal income tax is paid by the top 25 percent of wage earners and 36 percent by the top 1 percent of wage earners, it seems to me that's where the tax cuts should be applied.

And finally, this nonsense about "death tax" being "code" used to stir emotion by Farm Bureau. In light of the tax statistics just mentioned, I think "tax cuts for the rich" is far more inflammatory than an honest description of the Federal Estate Tax.

By the way, how can the record tax revenues flowing into the IRS after each tax cut (including the current Bush cuts) be explained?

Very easily. Lower taxes lead to increased investment and spending, generating more, not less, tax revenue.

I think Mr. Biggs' guest column is simply another case of a liberal never meeting a tax increase he didn't like.

Robin Jones

Farm Bureau agent in Tonganoxie


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