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Policy Reports

Income and Inequality and the Misery Index, by Woodrow Ginsburg, William Rice and Mary von Euler.

On the Road to Tax Fairness, by Mary von Euler and Woodrow Ginsburg

Low Income Housing, by Jane Adams Finn

FOREWARN:  Plant Closings and Mass Layoffs - The Right to Know, by Lew Maltby

Common Sense Tax Fairness, by Mary von Euler and Woodrow Ginsburg

The Employee Free Choice Act, by Professor David Yamada and the ADA Workers' Rights Committee

Congress as Watchdogs, by Mary von Euler

Improving with Age:  Financing Government in the 21st Century, by Max Sawicky

Unhealthy Handouts for Health Care, by Mary von Euler

Featured Policy Brief: Estate Tax

Americans for Democratic Action
Legislative Department

On Thursday, April 2, 2009 the Senate voted on a budget amendment introduced by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AK) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) that allows lower tax rates and higher exemptions (from $3.5 to $5 million per person) on estate taxes.  

At the end of the day, the Lincoln-Kyl amendment passed 51-48, with ten Democrats supporting the amendment.  The Democrats that supported the amendment were Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Max Baucus (D-MT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Jon Tester (D-MT).

The non-binding budget vote is a good projection of future of the estate tax debate.  The expected consequences from the amendment are uncertain though.  The Lincoln-Kyl amendment was written to be “deficit-neutral”.  This means that if Congress were to cut the estate tax, they would have to simultaneously raise enough revenue to replace what would be lost by the policy change or cut spending.  Also, on the same day another amendment, introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), was adopted by the Senate that calls for no additional estate tax relief unless an equal amount of aggregate tax relief is also provided to Americans earning less than $100,000 per year.  These two items make the Lincoln-Kyl Amendment more difficult to implement than our billionaire friends might like.

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