The U.S. House and Senate recently approved a measure important to the survival of small businesses and family farms in our community - the elimination of the estate tax. President Bill Clinton has threatened to veto the bill.
Currently, when a business owner dies, Uncle Sam can demand up to 55 percent of his or her assets. Oftentimes the family must liquidate or sell off the family business completely just to pay this bill. Who loses? Employees, the community and the American Dream. What does the federal government gain? Less than 1 percent of the country's total tax collection.
I started Muns Welding and Mechanical, Inc. in 1989. We provide 50-plus people with jobs and health-care benefits in the Augusta area, and would like to grow and expand, but are forced to pay an average of $25,000 per year in fees for lawyers, accountants and life insurance.
Upon my death, my family may well be forced to liquidate, sell, lay off employees, take out crippling loans, etc., and Muns Welding and Mechanical will become another dying small business statistic.
In this day of budget surpluses, it is ludicrous to literally tax to death the backbone of the American economy. The death tax is anti-jobs, anti-economic growth and anti-American spirit.
I urge the House and Senate to override any presidential veto of this bill. ...
Lee Muns, Martinez
(Editor's note: The author is president of Muns Welding and Mechanical, Inc.)