Smith and Other Agriculture Republicans Encourage Members to Vote No on H.R. 4154

Dec 3, 2009

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – Today, members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to vote on H.R. 4154, Permanent Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009. Despite the name of the bill, this legislation will increase the tax liability for our farmers and ranchers during a time when they are struggling to make a living.

One fourth of all commercial family farms will be impacted by H.R. 4154, which targets farms with assets of $3.5 million and more. From 2002 to 2007, it is estimated that the number of farms with holdings greater than $3.5 million increased over 60 percent. It can be expected that the number of farmers impacted by this bill will continue to accelerate. Congress should seek a solution which allows families to continue farming across generations without penalty.

Earlier in the week, Rep. Adrian Smith from Nebraska, a member of the Agriculture Committee, gave a speech on the House floor on the devastating impact the estate tax will have on the agriculture community.

To watch the complete video of Rep. Smith's' speech click here.

The text of the speech is below.

"Mr. Speaker, the estate tax, also known as the death tax, has been a drag on America's family-owned small businesses for decades. It threatens our Nation's farms and ranches, the very businesses which produce 86 percent of U.S. agricultural products.

"Farmers and ranchers work their entire lives to build their land and equipment for their operations; yet the existence of the death tax could take it all away.

"The death tax impedes economic growth because it lowers incentives for small family businesses to invest capital in their own economic endeavors. In other words, it punishes success.

"This flies in the face of the very principles upon which our country was founded.

"The estate tax is inappropriate, and it needs to be eliminated once and for all. Doing so in the right way would lift a tremendous weight off the shoulders of America's family-owned small businesses, farms, and ranches."