Friday, January 16, 2009

Time to relax in the Cowboy State

According to NPR, many residents of Wyoming are anxious about the ensuing Obama Presidency. The state's mining and coal industries worry about new environmental legislation, while ranchers worry about wildlife protection laws, which protect the grey wolves that stalk cattle herds.  But at least one worry can be put to rest:
Across the table, rancher Scott Sims says he worries the Obama administration will raise the estate tax. He says that could make it tough or impossible for ranchers to pass their land down to their children.

"We don't need more government, we need less government," Sims says. "We don't need more taxes or the redistribution of wealth."
Conservatives tend to get apoplectic about the estate tax.  But what is Obama really planning on doing? Daniel Hamermesh explains:
Under current law (passed in 2001), the tax is scheduled to disappear next year (but come back with a very low exemption in 2011). President-elect Obama will quickly push to abolish the repeal and instead freeze the exemption at $7 million for a couple, with a marginal tax rate of 45 percent on estates above that.
I doubt we'll see any raises above the current rate.  Rather, the estate tax will remain rather than expire.  But the real question is: how many people in Wyoming will actually be effected by the estate tax? According to the Census Bureau, 1.5% of Wyoming families have an income greater than $200,000.  So it seems unlikely that too many families will have to pay estate taxes, given the $7 million dollar exemption.

Hopefully the people of Wyoming will sleep easier knowing this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope Congress doesn't let the Estate Tax go back into effect. There is no reason to tax anyone that heavily, especially when it can have such negative effects on small- and medium-sized family-owned businesses. With the economy in a poor state, and with even the most optimistic estimates for the recovery saying it won't be a quick process, I think we need to do what we can to help those businesses. They have always been the engine that helps drive job creation. The Estate Tax would really stifle that. I encourage everyone to contact their Congressional representative to tell them to repeal the Estate Tax permanently. If you want to see what it can truly cost, I noticed that the Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a Estate Tax calculator up that will let everyone see the staggering impact of it. Here's the link -