The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Anne Singer, 202-271-4679,
Susan Roth, 301-530-3539,

Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Speak Out For A Strong Estate Tax; Call the Tax Fair, Manageable and Rare

United for a Fair Economy Hosts a November 16 Press Conference Call Featuring Three Business Owners


To challenge the myth that the estate tax is bad for business,
three small business owners and entrepreneurs are speaking out in
support of a strong, permanent federal tax on large estates. They are
urging Congress to restore a strong estate tax. The issue will be
debated when Congress returns on November 15. Contrary to claims that
all business owners oppose the estate tax, these Americans who have
founded and/or run small businesses want to see the tax strengthened and
are willing to pay it.

The speakers on the November 16 teleconference will include:
  • Two small business owners who represent the vast majority of farms and businesses that would owe no
    estate tax should it return to 2009 levels (a farm service provider
    from Arkansas and a microbrewer from Washington state), and;
  • A Silicon Valley entrepreneur who represents the mere 0.02% of all
    estates that are small businesses or farms that can expect to pay estate
    tax at 2009 levels.
Each of the speakers sees the tax as an investment in the
publicly-funded infrastructure that made their success possible and
continues to benefit their operations.
Unwilling to serve as poster children for tax cutting policies they
oppose, these American business owners will discuss how existing estate
tax exemptions and provisions already address the concerns of small
businesses and farms and protect them from unmanageable tax
The estate tax was reduced between 2002 and 2009 and fully
suspended during 2010 as a result of the Bush tax cuts of 2001. All of
these cuts will sunset at the end of 2010 due to deficit-reduction
rules. The future of the estate tax remains undecided. If Congress does
not act, the estate tax is due to return in 2011 with a $1 million
exemption per spouse and a 55% rate on amounts above that.
These three business owners will join experts from United for a
Fair Economy (UFE), which has been fighting to preserve the estate tax
since 2000, in a teleconference on Tuesday, November 16 to discuss their
reasons for supporting a permanent and robust estate tax. Participants
will make opening remarks and take press questions.
WHAT: A press teleconference featuring small business leaders who support a strong estate tax.
  • Jean Gordon, Little Rock, AR

    Co-owner of Frostyaire of Arkansas, agricultural freezing and cold storage company.

  • Jerry Fiddler, San Francisco, CA

    Principal of Zygote Ventures, venture capital firm, and Founder of Wind River Systems, tech company.

  • Dave Eiffert, Snoqualmie, WA

    Co-founder and Co-owner of Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, craft brewery and tap room.

  • Lee Farris, Senior Organizer on Estate Tax Policy at United for a Fair Economy.
  • Mike Lapham, Director of Responsible Wealth, a project of UFE.
WHEN: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 11:00 A.M. Eastern time.
WHERE: Contact UFE for full details

United for a Fair Economy challenges the concentration of wealth and power that corrupts democracy, deepens the racial divide and tears communities apart. We use popular economics education, trainings, and creative communications to support social movements working for a resilient, sustainable and equitable economy. United for a Fair Economy believes another world is possible. We envision a global society which respects the humanity, rights, and creativity of all people.