Wall Street Journal supports Measure 84

Common Sense for Oregon

“We would like to share an editorial supporting Measure 84 to end the Oregon Death Tax, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.  Here it is:”

The Wall Street Journal

Saturday/ Sunday, September 15-16, 2012

Oregon’s Death Tax Defiers

Small business owners and farmers have been some of the hardest hit by the tough economy, and those who stay afloat, increasingly worry they won’t be able to pass on their enterprises to the next generation. In liberal Oregon, of all places, a measure will be on the ballot this November to ease the burden by eliminating the state’s death tax.

Last Year, after Oregon farmer Pauline Andrews’s grandparents dies, her family had to pay several thousand dollars in death taxes to keep land that had been in the family for over 100 years, and they’ll have to pay again when her parents die. “My family has paid taxes our whole lives,” Ms. Andrews says. “We would definitely have to sell property just to be able to pay the death tax for the third time.”

She’s not the only one. Under current Oregon law, the tax kicks in at 10% on estates worth a mere $1 million and raises to 16% on estates of $9 million. That hits many family owned businesses and farms that wouldn’t qualify as rich even in Elizabeth Warren’s book of envy.

Often, the businesses own assets like buildings, land, equipment or vehicles that make them eligible for the tax but aren’t liquid enough to allow a sale to pay the tax collector. To obey the law, heirs are focused to sell parts of their business or close it down to come up with the cash.

Some 58% of all death tax filings on Oregon are on estates worth less than $3 million. That’s no surprise: As businesses and families get close to the federal estate tax threshold of $5 million, they are more likely to have hired lawyers to help them avoid the tax. (Think Warren Buffet.)

Critics of the repeal initiative, known as Measure 84, claim the phase-out over three years will hurt the state’s general revenue fund and thus money for education or welfare. But death tax revenues make up less than 1.5% of Oregon’s general fund-roughly $100 million of the $7.5 billion annual budget.

Oregon is merely the latest in a wave of states that are considering or have repealed their estate levies. In 2001, all 50 states had death taxes. By this summer, 31 states had taken those off their books, including most recently Tennessee, which is phasing out its tax over several years, and Ohio, which will eliminate its tax in January.

According to the latest poll commissioned by Common Sense for Oregon, a non-profit group leading the repeal effort, the measure is ahead by roughly 19%. Forty-eight percent of voters support repeal, 29% are opposed, and 23% are undecided. That suggests the repeal effort could still be undone by a burst of opposition advertising, financed perhaps by government unions or a billionaire who shields his taxes by creating a foundation.

They shouldn’t be able to get away with the standard liberal argument that the estate tax hurts no one but the rich. Its biggest targets are family businesses, entrepreneurs and professional households that have saved over a lifetime and that have already paid taxes on their income once or even two times. By punishing them, the economy suffers and so does everyone else.

The best reason to repeal the death tax is moral: It punishes a lifetime of thrift for the inevitability of death and no purpose but punishment.

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Posted by at 05:40 | Posted in Taxes | 31 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Judahlevi

    Liberals have never met a tax they didn’t support. They particularly like going after ‘rich’ people which is defined as anyone who has more than they do. In other words, their motivation is envy. Depend on them to vote for every new tax and to always oppose getting rid of one. They are easily predictable.

    • ardbeg

      Our founding fathers used the estate tax as a way to pay for wars and to keep wealth from accumulating in a few powerful families. They saw what that power did in England and didn’t want to make the same mistake in America. The super-duper rich have plenty of ways to avoid the ‘death tax’. The moderately wealthy not as much. Should the death tax go away? Ya, it should. Is it the only thing in our tax code that needs fixing? No. The FF’s original intent of the death tax is a moot point now. There are tons rich, super rich, and super-duper rich and powerful families so that ship has sailed. So is the right approach to fix just one thing? I’d say not. Should Mitt be paying a lower tax rate than me? Hell no. Get rid of the death tax and fix the tax code, not just one part of it. There Juda, hows that for a liberal response.

      • Judahlevi

        Not bad for a “liberal”, but the net effect of your comment is the same if not higher taxes. In other words, you don’t argue to reduce taxation but to replace the death tax with other taxes in different parts of the tax code. Your “super duper rich” comment is also dripping with envy.
        Naturally, Appell and HB are opposed to eliminating the tax as expected. HB even comes up with a liberal conspiracy argument about the measure. The overactive imagination of a liberal mind at work. Appell feels phony sympathy for anyone who has more than he does.
        Looking at all three commenters, my analysis is close enough for government work.

        • DavidAppell

          Yes, I’m against lowering the estate tax, and declined to sign the state initiative petition this summer. Taxes are too low already. Federal tax receipts are levels of the 1960s, and it the main cause of the large deficit. And there’s little evidence that lower taxes lead to higher economic growth (or else there’d have been a boom last decade, instead of a bust); in fact, it’s the opposite. Tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy may lead to a few jobs (but its unfairness cancels that, ethically), and that money is often inefficiently allocated, often out of the country (see: Mitt Romney), for which they periodically cry for amnesty to bring it back tax-free.

          • Judahlevi

            David,
            The “main” cause of the large/huge deficit is excessive spending by the goverment. Every government knows that if they don’t get the economy working again, tax revenues will fall. The real problem is unemployment of over 8% (or higher based on those who have given up looking for work) for the last three years which has reduced tax revenues and caused economic misery for millions of people.
            International investing is done by all types of people at all income levels. Wake up to the global economy.

          • DavidAppell

            Again, the data show you are wrong. Last quarter federal spending was 24.2% of GDP, the same as the 4th quarter of 1982. Then, federal receipts were 18.6% of GDP (now they are 17.2%), and Reagan saw the need to raise taxes, which pushed taxes up to 19.5% by 2Q87. That difference now amounts to $389 B/yr.

            Americans want services, subsidies, and tax breaks, but don’t want to pay for them. Hence there will be deficits.

            And, no, international investing is not done by lots of people on the scale it is being done today by corporations and the wealthy — just look at Romney’s tax return to see how he took advantage of foreign investment. The Guardian recently estimated that $21-32 trillion has been hidden in offshore tax havens:
            https://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/21/offshore-wealth-global-economy-tax-havens

          • Judahlevi

            No, David, you are wrong. This is why I don’t play your game of cherry picking information/data (from 1982 of all places) because liberals like you will never admit to anything. To make it easy for you, when you run deficits of over $1 trillion dollars each year you are spending too much money. It is a simple concept.
            And please, the UK’s Guardian? You might as well quote the Huffington Post. Try reading the Wall Street Journal or Investors Business Daily for real financial information.

          • DavidAppell

            Yet again you claim that facts and data are “wrong.” I am beginning to wonder how you make sense of the real world.

            The fact is, reducing federal expenditures to current federal receipts is unthinkable, politically impossible, and completely unrealistic. So there will continue to be deficits.
            The Guardian is a world class newspaper. It’s easy to dismiss facts just by rejecting a source whose conclusion you don’t like. Do you have better facts? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you present a fact in this forum.

          • Judahlevi

            “reducing federal expenditures to current federal receipts is unthinkable, politically impossible, and completely unrealistic”
            This is not “fact”, it is pure opinion. It is not surprising that you don’t know the difference since you often think your opinions are “facts.” There is nothing wrong with this, most of politics is based on opinion – and you are entitled to yours.

          • DavidAppell

            Of course — duh — it’s my opinion. But considering the total, utter failure of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, it’s a completely justified opinion.

          • 3H

            You mean, it’s your opinion that unemployment is over 8%. Remember, in politics, there are no facts, just opinions. Unless the rules don’t apply to you?

        • ardbeg

          You make too many assumptions in general and especially about anyone you consider ‘liberals’, Does asking for fairness in the tax code mean I’m a liberal? Do all conservatives want to get rid of all taxes and regulations? I think not but that is how they are painted by liberal groups. I also have no envy as you assume. And no, I will not “argue to reduce taxation” as you will. I will continue to argue for a simplified, appropriate and fair tax code. If that make me a OWS, hippie, pot smoking, lazy socialist who wants the government to take care of me, than so be it. But those are your labels not mine.

          • Judahlevi

            Those were never my labels, only yours. And you need a more objective standard than “fairness.” Tax rates should be set based on the limited needs of government, not on what is fair.

          • 3H

            If we’re just talking about opinions, why does the standard need to be more objective? We’re not talking facts, so what role does objectivity play, and how would you determine it? Simply by referencing more opinion?

          • ardbeg

            “Liberals have
            never met a tax they didn’t
            support”. “They
            particularly like going after ‘rich’ people, Depend on them to vote for every new tax, They are easily predictable ” All your words, not mine.
            You use a lot of They and Them. Your labels not mine. You
            seem to put people in a box and then label it “Liberal” if it isn’t
            exactly what you believe in. Your quote that I need a better standard
            than “fairness” cracks me up. Since when did fairness become a
            liberal idea? Who says fairness and limited government can’t exist at the same
            time? We don’t have either at the moment but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive
            towards it.

          • Judahlevi

            If the worst “label” you have been called on a board is “they” and “them”, your experience has been much more sheltered than mine. Liberals have called me every derogatory name you can think of – I mean ‘real’ names, not “they” or “them.” No sympathy here.
            “Liberals” as I use the term, have a definite ideology which I believe to be unethical. They believe in big government not limited government, in collectivism not individualism, in socialistic economic systems not capitalistic, in groupthink rather than free and independent thought, etc. You may or may not be a “liberal” as I define them.

          • DavidAppell

            Your gross caricaturization of those you disagree with is mere puffery, an easy way to avoid thinking deeply about issues and where people are coming from. It says a lot more about you than about them.

          • Judahlevi

            David, I am not here to impress anyone nor do I worry for one moment about what you think. This site is for conservatives to exchange thoughts, not people like you who try, but fail miserably, to impress us with your intellect. You are nothing more than a liberal troll on a conservative site.

          • DavidAppell

            >>This site is for conservatives to exchange thoughts, not people like you
            who try, but fail miserably, to impress us with your intellect.<<

            That's an opinion, not a fact.

          • ardbeg

            That’s the real problem isn’t it. You see all Liberals as “Unethical” and I’m sure your counterparts on the Left sees all conservatives the same way. You mention “collectivism” and state it as the antithesis to what is good and ethical. You don’t believe in The Commons? because our country is based largely on it. Public parks, public highways, public education, police, military, firemen, public servants, public libraries, etc. What makes this country great is the partnership and balance between collectivism and individualism. It’s been that way in this country since it’s beginning and never been a problem until recent extremists on both sides shouting their no compromise agendas and a media (on both sides) that fuels the fire.

          • Judahlevi

            You are not reading well. I said that liberals have an “ideology” which I believe to be unethical, not that all liberals are unethical. Can you understand the difference?
            You try too hard for a “gotcha” moment and it is a waste of time. You don’t understand my use of the term “collectivism” (it is not about parks), and you imply that I am an “extremist” because I may consider something unethical. People who call others “extremists” are only trying to make themselves appear to be the more rational party. Name-calling is never more rational.
            Collectivism has been one of the worst and most destructive philosophies in human history. Until you have a clue about that, there is very little left to discuss.

          • ardbeg

            Wasn’t referring to you as an extremist, sorry you took it that way. No I don’t see the distinction between “liberals have an “ideology” which I believe to be unethical, not that all liberals are unethical”. Sorry again. If the liberal ideology is unethical in your view it is not a stretch to assume you believe liberal are unethical. And yes, I do consider myself more rational than the Left/Right extremists. I think that is the definition of rational-someone who can keep different view points in perspective. Rational is not a label I would give to those who think that their way or the highway is the end of a discussion. I have many friends both left and right yet some how when we get together we still find common ground. That group is rational. Do you ever have a conversation with a “liberal” and find common ground? If not, then yes, you are one of the extremist whom I am better than, smarter than an more rational than. I hate to be accused of name calling without actually intending to so now I feel better. And I agree ‘there is very little to discuss’ as you say as you haven’t brought anything of value to our discussion.

          • Judahlevi

            So, you weren’t calling me an “extremist” unless I am one, and if I am one, then you are “better”, “smarter”, and more “rational” than me. I would throw in that you are more “humble” as well.
            Since I may be a lesser person than you (you are potentially “better”), then how could I bring anything of “value” to you? How could I possibly achieve your lofty heights of rationality and discussion?
            Arrogance is a virtue for some – a solitary few.

          • ardbeg

            A society is only as strong as it’s ‘weakest link’. Just trying to get you up to speed.

        • HBguy

          Check out subsection 4d of M84. Then ask someone who understands tax and estate law how that will be abused.

          • Judahlevi

            HB,
            I understand tax and estate law well enough to know you can’t “abuse” a 0% tax.

  • HBguy

    Measure 84 is simplistic and has a hidden tax loophole for the wealthy.

    The loophole will soon be exposed. I expect the supporters of M84 to then claim that the legislature can fix the loophole. The Republican legislators will promise to do so. THen, if it passes, these same supporters and legislators will forget their promise to fix the loophole and instead say that the voters knew all about it and still voted for it.

  • DavidAppell

    How can farmer’s be some of the “hardest hit by the tough economy,” as this article begins, when they have crop insurance and copious subsidies?

    Would that we all have it so tough!

  • DavidAppell

    PS: Are farmers part of the 47% Romney disdains?

  • mike

    Obviously the state needs more money. If you are dead you don’t. Problem solved. Give it over you rich dead people.

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