By Patrick Cavanaugh
Danielle Beck, the Director of Governmental Affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. She and others of the industry are applauding the introduction of a bipartisan legislation that would permanently kill the onerous estate tax that harshly affects the cattle industry.
US Senator, John Thune, of South Dakota and by US Representatives, Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Sanford Bishop of Georgia, introduced the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 this week. Beck said, “It’s a huge priority for the NCBA.”
Last Congress, Chairman Kevin Brady, 8th District, Texas introduced the blueprint, Pathways to Tax Reform. “It’s something that they’ve been gearing up towards and now that we have a Republican in both chambers of Congress, and then a Republican in the White House, it seems like they’re shooting with bullets this year. We’re excited to see what happens moving forward,” Beck said.
And of course, the estate tax has been devastating to ranching families. “In 2006 it was estimated that family businesses spent $27.8 billion just to comply with the law. It’s hard to estimate exactly what the total savings will be. Ultimately, at the end of the day we know that the Estate Tax impedes economic growth because it discourages savings and capital accumulation,” said Beck.
And if the cattle-ranching families are not saddled with the huge burden of Estate Tax it will allow them to invest in their own businesses and communities.
“We’ve met with the committee recently and they are full-speed ahead. We think that we’ll probably see some sort of legislation whether it’s a comprehensive reform bill or reconciliation sometime in the spring,” said Beck. “They have committed a number of times that they want to get something passed and into law by the August recess, so they’re moving quickly.”
Many ranch families are asset rich and cash poor. Most of the value of the estate is attributed to the value of the land, livestock, and the equipment used. Oftentimes, when producers are faced with paying an Estate Tax they have to sell off many of their assets to just make ends meet.