Capitol Hill

Death to the death tax

As Benjamin Franklin said in 1789: "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes." Sadly, his words hold true 226 years later as the federal government continues to tax estates after death.

For many family-owned businesses, the estate tax is a real and heavy burden, causing families to spend thousands of dollars on estate planners, accountants and life insurance policies to protect their businesses for future generations or stockpile profits to soften the blow when the federal government comes calling. This leads to more money being left on the sidelines rather than being reinvested in growing a business or creating new jobs.

Given that most of the value in construction businesses is tied to illiquid assets such as land, buildings and equipment, it is difficult for many businesses to pay the taxes outright. As such, new owners often are forced to sell these assets or the business itself to pay the tax.

A fight to repeal