Waco, TX (March 2003) - During an estate tax discussion with national media attending National Farmers Union's 101st anniversary convention, NFU and Responsible Wealth announced they are joining forces in the coming months to push tax reform, not repeal.
"Farmers Union is supportive of efforts to provide realistic and meaningful estate tax reform that benefits family farmers and ranchers," said Texas Farmers Union President (TFU) Wes Sims. Reformed estate tax policy would provide immediate relief for those farmers and ranchers who might face a tax liability while contributing to overall fiscal responsibility."
Sims said "TFU is for raising the estate tax exemption to $4 million per individual and $8 million for couples."
Sims said his family farm organization is working closely with Bill Gates Sr., co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on this issue. In 2001, Gates teamed up with Responsible Wealth in Boston to initiate the "Call to Preserve the Estate tax" which has been a catalyst for reforming the estate tax, but not eliminating it. He is also the co-author of the new book "Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should tax Accumulated Fortunes" (Beacon Press, 2003).
"Repealing the estate tax on the largest estates would endanger family farms in the United States," said Gates. "Without an estate tax, giant corporate farms will simply get larger and larger at the expense of family farms. Rather than repealing the estate tax, we should reform and simplify the estate tax to enable family farmers to better survive the growing pressures from big agribusiness."
Lee Farns, a spokesperson for responsible wealth, said, "Family farmers speaking out in favor of a reformed estate tax will have a major favorable impact on U.S. senators' votes. Together with the National Farmers Union, Responsible Wealth will mobilize farmers across the country to support the estate tax."
Responsible Wealth is a national network of businesspeople, investors and affluent Americans concerned about economic inequality and working for widespread prosperity.
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