For Immediate Release


Tim Sullivan, United for a Fair Economy, (617) 423-2148 x127,
Brian Gumm, OMB Watch, (202) 683-4812,


Fair Estate Tax Coalition

Americans for a Fair Estate Tax Coalition Urges Congress to Restore Strong Estate Tax

Americans for a Fair Estate Tax (AFET), a coalition of dozens of
national and state organizations, announced today that it had sent a
coalition letter to all members of the House and Senate calling on Congress to "restore the estate tax to 2009 levels or stronger."


The letter
noted that the deal negotiated by President Obama and Republicans
includes two years of a significantly weaker estate tax, with a $5
million exemption for individuals and a $10 million exemption for
couples, and a tax rate of 35 percent.


In the
letter, 69 organizations urged Congress to "re-establish a permanent
robust estate tax." Among the 69 organizations signing the letter are
groups with national memberships such as YWCA and USAction,
philanthropic groups such as Independent Sector and the National
Committee for Responsible Philanthropy, and labor groups, including


Lee Farris,
Estate Tax Policy Coordinator of United for a Fair Economy and AFET
steering committee member, said, "In times of crisis, we pull together
and share the sacrifice. While working- and middle-income people are
struggling, this deal would gut the estate tax, putting billions more in
the pockets of millionaires and billionaires. United for a Fair Economy
calls on Congress to amend the deal to restore a strong estate tax."


Gary Bass,
OMB Watch Executive Director and AFET steering committee member, said,
"The presence of an estate tax provides an incentive for the wealthy to
contribute to charitable organizations. And in this harsh economic
environment, institutions that feed the hungry, shelter the homeless,
and train jobless workers are acutely feeling the crush of an increased
demand for their services as their funding sources dry up." He
continued, "President Obama inexplicably gave away the store to Paris
Hilton and other heirs to vast fortunes through the evisceration of the
estate tax."


The letter also points out that:

  • Restoring the
    estate tax to 2009 levels or stronger would affect only the wealthiest
    one quarter of one percent of estates and would bring in roughly $250
    billion in revenue over 10 years.
  • The Tax Policy Center estimates that in 2009, only 100 small businesses and small farm estates nationwide owed any estate tax.
  • Polls show a
    clear majority of voters want there to be an estate tax, believing that
    an exemption of between $2 million and $3.5 million is fair.  Voters
    continually place the estate tax at the bottom of the list of taxes the
    government should cut.
  • Continued repeal of the estate tax would deepen the budget deficit by roughly $800 billion between 2012 and 2021.

The complete text of the letter is available at:



Americans For a Fair Estate Tax
is a coalition of nonprofit organizations and others from around the
country, representing a wide cross-section of America, and includes
civic, labor, social justice, faith-based, environmental, and human
services groups. The coalition is dedicated to preserving the estate tax
as a valuable part of the progressive U.S. tax system.

United for a Fair Economy
is a national, independent, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit
organization located in Boston, MA, which advocates for progressive
economic and tax policies. More at

OMB Watch
is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to
promoting government accountability, citizen participation in public
policy decisions, and the use of fiscal and regulatory policy to serve
the public interest. Learn more at



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