Climate bill and Estate Tax update by Farm Bureau

By American Farm Bureau Federation

AFBF applauds Senate delay of Climate Change Bill

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman applauded the decision by Senate leaders to delay consideration of climate change legislation until the spring of 2010. “This move offers a great opportunity for lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and re-assess the need for this legislation and the impact it will have on all Americans,” Stallman said.  “Legislation previously approved by the House, and a similar bill approved on a party-line vote by a Senate committee, would impose higher energy and food costs on consumers,” Stallman added. “The bills also would create an energy deficit due to limited alternatives.

“Farmers and ranchers would see higher fuel, fertilizer and energy costs. And the cap-and-trade provisions would do little more than downsize American agriculture and our ability to produce food in this nation. None of those are acceptable results to us, and we will continue to tell our members of Congress, ‘Don’t cap our future.’

“The timing for this announcement by Senate leaders could not be better. We now know there will be no international agreement resulting from the upcoming meeting in Copenhagen. Furthermore, we have heard testimony from the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency that the House-passed bill would have no significant impact on the global climate. These bills represent all pain and no gain for our nation and American agriculture and now the Senate has a chance to correct that error.”

AFBF statement:

Estate Tax Bill still expected this year

While rumors that national estate tax legislation would be on the House floor this week proved false, action on estate tax legislation is still expected before the end of the year.

The current estate tax exemption is $3.5 million per person and the top rate is 45 percent. Estate taxes will be temporarily repealed for one year in 2010. When this happens, stepped-up basis will be limited to $1.3 million per person plus an additional $3 million for property passed to a surviving spouse. After 2010, the exemption will shrink to $1 million a person and the top rate will rise to 55 percent and full step up in basis will be reinstated.

Farm Bureau is supporting H.R. 3905, introduced by Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) to phase in an increase in the estate tax exemption from $3.5 million to $5 million per person and to phase in a reduction of the top rate from 45 percent to 35 percent over 10 years. The Berkley/Brady bill now has more than 20 co-sponsors.

Farm Bureau is working with Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to secure a $5 million exemption level and 35 percent rate in the Senate.

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